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 firstborn 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 the rich fool? Let’s find the answers. Please open your Bibles to Luke 12:13-21.
1. The Rich Fool didn’t consult 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, the rich fool had a strategic and excellent plan. 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 with his accumulated wealth.
2. The Rich Fool thought only of Himself
A. Charity is an obligation in Judaism, a duty that cannot be forsaken even by those who are in need themselves.
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 fool intended to lay up all the good things only for his pleasure and for the sake of his welfare.
3. The Rich Fool 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 Luke called him the rich fool. He had 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? We learned what he did wrong. Let’s finish with the right things that we must do.
Condition your plans in God’s Will
Read James 4:13-15
It’s not sinning to plan ahead. But God must have the first place in our plans. We can plan without God but we can’t expect God to intervene when our plans get messed up.
Don’t lay up treasures for Yourself
Read Matthew 6:19; 25:34-46; Galatians 6:10
Saving money isn’t wrong. But don’t place your confidence in your savings. On the other hand, we are also to bless others with our blessings. Not to pile them up.
Maintain Spiritual Vigilance
Read Luke 17:26-36; Hebrews 9:27
“Tripping Billies” – A famous song by Dave Matthews. “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die”. Heaven and Hell are real. If you are not rich towards God as much as you are towards your comfort you will miss heaven.
Remember that going to church, paying your tithes, and getting involved in ministry will not take you to heaven. Only being rich towards God in this life can guarantee you will spend the life to come in God’s presence.
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