Luke 12: Parable of the Rich Fool (10 Mar 2019)

Last Sunday, we were encouraged by Brother Stephen Lok’s sermon on Luke 12! To be a fool in God’s eyes is to have missed the point of life. The remarkable thing is that the person God calls a fool, we would very often call a success, a person to be envied.

We have been nurtured in a society that seduces with the promise of affluence and measures worth on the basis of possessions and positions. There is nothing inherently wrong with professional success, financial security, or personal prosperity. But at some point, a follower of Jesus Christ crosses the line into enemy territory. As the Lord has told us, we cannot be His disciples unless we say good bye to all our possessions.

Some of us may be familiar with this. In the days following her flight from the Philippines with her deposed husband, revelations about Imelda Marcos made her name a synonym for greed. What can a woman do with thousands pairs of shoes? But the Imelda Marcos syndrome operates throughout the economic scale. The term “greed” means simply “A consumer desire to have more”; it has the nuance of a grasping for more, a list to acquire. It is the very opposite of the contentment that accompanies true godliness (1 Tim 6:6).

Greed is no laughing matter. It is idolatry (Colossians 3:5). The Lord leaves no doubt. A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. God alone is the source of life.

In the Parable of the rich fool, God’s word introduces us to a first century yuppie. Wealth often begets wealth, and his wealth enabled him to possess land that produced a bumper crop. There seems to be no criticism intended by the fact of his wealth, his manner of acquiring it, or its increase. What is decisive is what he chooses to do with it. Even then, it is not his actions so much as his assumptions that are crucial. Given his values, building bigger barns is a wise, pragmatic decision. Yet that is precisely the question: what are his values?

The crucial issue in life is not the amount of our possessions, but the LOCATION of it. The rich man’s treasures were on earth. He was a fool because he built his life around what couldn’t last and what really didn’t matter. The disciple call is to be rich toward God, with a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted. D L Moody once said, “It does not take long to tell where a man’s treasure is. In a fifteen minutes’ conversation with most people, you can tell whether their treasures are on earth or in heaven”.

No one wants to be called a fool by God. We can choose limits, not luxury, so our treasure can be invested in heaven. We can cultivate compassion, not greed. Most of all, we can pursue confidence in God, not material possessions!


Elder Andrew Lim

(Ref: Understanding What Jesus Meant, Gary Ing)