Sermon: The parable of the rich fool


In the controversial TV series “The Good Wife”, Wendy Carr promises to financially back Pastor Isaiah’s church in return for his endorsement. Later Pastor Isaiah tells his father that he endorsed Peter Florrick, Wendy’s rival candidate instead because unlike her, Peter didn’t put money before God.

A similar incident is recorded in the Gospel of Luke where a greedy man attempted to manipulate Jesus’ influence as a teacher to convince his older brother to share the inheritance. (In ancient times the first born was entitled to a double portion of his father’s inheritance.) Jesus immediately discerned this man’s intention and told him (as well as everyone else in an earshot) the parable of the rich fool.

The ending of the parable (“…Not rich toward God…”) leaves two important questions. In which way this man was not rich towards God? What can we do differently so that you and I shall not end up like this man? Let’s find the answers.

Read Luke 12:13-21

1. His plan didn’t concern God’s will

A. We are introduced to a man who was materially blessed by God already; his land produced plentifully.

B. From a businessman’s point of view this man’s plan is strategic and excellent. But from God’s point of view it had two problems.

C. First his plans didn’t concern furthering God’s will. Secondly he trusted his future to his accumulated wealth.

2. He laid up treasures for himself

A. Charity is an obligation in Judaism, a duty that cannot be forsaken even by those who are themselves in need.

B. Its importance is so much that people who don’t give were sometimes considered guiltier than idol worshipers.

C. In spite of all these the rich man’s intention was to lay up all the good things only for his pleasure and for the sake of his welfare.

3. He was spiritually ignorant

A. Traditional Judaism firmly believes that death is not the end of human existence and this man was surely aware of it.

B. The behavior he exhibited despite his religious knowledge suggests that he was spiritually ignorant.

C. I am not surprised that God called him a fool. He had the religious knowledge but did not live up to it.


Now let me answer the second question. What can we do differently so that you and I shall not end up like this man?

Condition your plans in the will of God (James 4:13-15) – It’s not sin to plan ahead. But God must have the first place in our plans.

Don’t layup treasures for yourself (Matthew 6:19; 25:34-46) – Saving money isn’t wrong. But don’t place your confidence in your savings. In the other hand we are to bless others with our blessings. Not to pile them up. (Galatians 6:10)

Maintain spiritual vigilance (Luke 17:26-36) – “Tripping Billies” the famous song by Dave Matthews. “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die”.

Image: Colin