|Vol. 15 No. 1 January 2013||
In Luke 12:13-21 we find the parable of the rich fool. We often notice that this man was called a fool, but seldom do we ask why. Following are some reasons Jesus called this man a fool.
He thought about the gifts, but not about the Giver. God is the giver of every blessing (James 1:17). Yet, this man gave credit to himself and not God. The man had an I problem. He said, “I” will do this, and “I” will do that. He was focused on his material wealth, to the exclusion of the Giver of those gifts. Today, we are rich in this nation. We must never forget that the blessings we have are from God. Whatever talents we have to earn money are given from God as well. Without Him we would be nothing.
He thought about himself and forgot about his neighbor. The rich fool was making plans for all his wealth. He was going to tear down his barns and build greater ones. He was storing up money all for himself. There is no mention of his planning to help anyone else. Today, we must be willing to share our wealth to help others. First John 3:17 says, “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” Let us remember the Words of Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Look for someone in need, and help him or her, sharing the blessings God has given you.
He thought about his body and forgot about his soul. The rich fool had great plans to nourish himself physically. He was going to eat, drink and be merry, but what about his spiritual condition? It seems he had no concern for things spiritual. Let us realize that our physical bodies will decay and wax old while our souls are eternal. As Christians, we should make those things spiritual a priority over those things physical.
He thought about life and forgot about death. The rich fool was not concerned about death at all. How could he have been? He was too busy making plans for all he was going to do with his money. It seems that he thought he was going to live forever. However, the sobering words of God rang in this man’s ears when He said, “Thou fool, this night shall thy soul be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?”
What is the lesson for us? Our lives are short at best (James 4:14), and death is certain (Hebrews 9:27). With this in view, we should lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven instead of treasures on earth (Matthew 6:19-21).
It’s something most people hate to hear but love to do. Call it complaining, murmuring, bellyaching or the like, but everyone is prone to do it sometime. The problem is that some make a pastime of it, constantly finding fault, always being negative about someone or something. It’s this spirit that James addressed in James 5:9; “Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.” However, how many people actually see themselves this way?
Consider the following complaints, and the appropriate response. “I don’t have to take that from anybody!” “When He was abused, He did not return abuse; when He suffered, He did not threaten; but He entrusted Himself to the One who judges justly” (2 Peter 2:23). “I don’t care about anybody else, this is what I want!” “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4). “Why don’t you see things my way?” “We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14:7-8).
There are too many occurrences of “I,” “me” and “my” in the above, and that’s usually from where most complaining comes. While it’s not wrong to be concerned about ourselves, our world must be bigger than self. For every complaint we offer, we could also list countless blessings we have in Christ. Which one we emphasize is a matter of our perspective – our attitude. Considering others opens us to a world of greater fellowship, love, joy, peace and help. We decide which it will be.
“Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near” (Philippians 4:5). May we genuinely care for one another, and show by a kind disposition the attitude of Christ in us. What a difference it can make in us – and everyone else!