"And He spoke a parable to them, saying, ‘The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this:  I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose  will those things be which you have provided!" So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." Luke 12:16-20.

     In current usage most of us think of a fool as an ignorant simpleton, but this is not the meaning of "fool" in the Bible. A study of Bible words translated "fool" pictures a person who is proud, egotistical, self-confident, and void of proper respect for God. 

     Jesus warned against calling another person a fool. "…But whoever says, ‘You fool’, shall be in danger of hell fire." Matthew 5:22.  The reason is that to call someone a fool we have to judge their inward motives which we cannot know.  God called the rich farmer a fool because God knew the motivations of his heart.

I.  The Farmer Was Not A Fool Because He Was Wealthy.

He Was Wealthy Because He Was Industrious.

     As a farmer he had one of the most honorable occupations a man can have. He worked hard at plowing, planting, and cultivating his crop. The fact that this resulted in an abundant crop is not a sin. "But the hand of the diligent makes rich" Proverbs 10:4

     There is a widespread misconception that money is the root of all evil, but the Scripture is crystal clear that it is not money, but the love of money. "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil…" 1st Timothy 6:10a. The scripture is simply saying that the love of money can motivate a person to commit virtually any kind of sin.

     Money has built and equipped churches and Christian ministries; trained preachers and Christian workers; operated countless compassionate services and sent Christian missionaries to the ends of the earth.

He Was Wealthy Because God Blessed His Efforts

     There is a world of meaning in that phrase "…the ground…yielded plentifully." Inherent in this statement are the facts that:

          God gave soil with nutrients to produce the crop.
          God gave sunshine in the right amounts and at the right time.
          God gave the farmer the intelligence to follow good agricultural practice.
          God gave the farmer health and physical strength to do the work.
          God withheld destructive storms and crop disease.

     The Hebrew scriptures have many promises of prosperity to Israel when they conduct their vocations in a way pleasing to Him. "The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it." Proverbs 10:22.   "And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is gives you power to get wealth…" Deuteronomy 8:18.   Read Psalms 1:1-3.  The apostle, John, wrote to Gaius, a godly Christian business man; "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers." 3rd John  verses 1 and 2.
     The apostle, Paul, indicated there is a direct connection between the way Christians practice good stewardship and the way God prospers them. See 2nd Corinthians 9:6-11.

II.  The Farmer Was Not A Fool Because He Prepared For His Family’s Future Welfare.

"…I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods." Luke 12:18.

     First, the farmer was practicing good crop conservation. It was certainly better to provide for the preservation of his crop rather than let it rot in the field.

     Second, the scriptures encourage making preparations for future needs. "Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest." Proverbs 6:6-8

     Christian men are exhorted in 1st Timothy 5:8 "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever."

III.  The Farmer Was A Fool Because He Thought Happiness For The Soul Is Found In Material Things.

"Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry." Here is what the farmer was convinced that satisfied the soul:
          Outward Evidence of Success - larger barns that expanded his enterprise
          Wealth - ",,,many goods laid up for many years."
          Health - He was confident he had ‘many years’.
          Comfort and Luxury - "…
take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry."
          Pleasure - "…be merry".
          We certainly acknowledge that all of these things can give some degree of satisfaction to a man intellectually, emotionally, and physically. The two problems are (1) They only last from a few seconds to a few years - very brief in the light of eternity and (2) They do absolutely nothing for the soul. The farmer was totally ignorant of what satisfies the soul:

     The soul doesn’t eat corn, beans, and wheat, but is nourished by the spiritual bread, milk,
          and water of life.
     The soul doesn’t find its satisfactions in temporary earthly accomplishments
          but eternal spiritual accomplishments.
     The soul doesn’t find it’s rest and refreshment in physical luxury, but in unhindered fellowship with God.
     The soul doesn’t receive its health and strength from physical activity, but spiritual activity.
     The soul doesn’t find it’s joy in physical merriment, but in the spiritual triumphs
          and blessings of the Lord.

     The reason Jesus told this parable was to teach that "not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions." Verse 15.

IV.  The Farmer Was A Fool Because His Faith Was Completely In Earthly Riches.

     That fact comes out very clearly as we hear him talking about "my fruits", "my barns", and "my goods".
The scriptures gives definite warning about placing our faith in uncertain earthly riches:

          "He who trusts in his riches will fall…" Proverbs 11:28  
        "Command those who are rich in the present age not to be haughty nor to trust in uncertain  riches, but in the living God who gives us richly all things to enjoy." 1st Timothy 6:17 

          Wise, indeed, is that person who heeds the last part of the above admonition to trust "God, Who gives us richly all things to enjoy." May the confidence and immortal statements of David come home to our hearts, "
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want." Psalm 23:1, and again, "The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing." Psalm 34:10, and again, "Delight yourself in the LORD; And He shall give you the desires of your heart." Psalms 37:4.

     I have lived long enough to observe the final chapters in the lives of many people. From scripture and observation I say confidently that any believer can expect to enjoy the good things of life more and longer when their trust is in God than the wealthy person whose trust is in their riches.


All His Plans For the Future Were Earthly.

     There was not one thought about his future that included God or eternal destiny. He counted out his increase, projected it over his expected lifetime and made his plans for earthly comfort and enjoyment. He laid sown to sleep dreaming of many good, great barns, luxurious ease and much merriment.

God’s Plans Were For His Earthly Life To End That Night.

     "But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; and then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ "The farmer’s clock said "many years". God’s clock said, "Tonight!"

     Sometime that night a cold breath from the lips of death swept over the farmer from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. When his family awoke the next morning they discovered a cold, stiff corpse. The farmer’s soul left his body to meet God unprepared. Jesus later told about another rich man who had the same experience. He described what happened after the soul left the body. "And being in torments in Hades he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue for I am tormented in this flame."  Luke 16:23,24That rich man found out there was a great expanse fixed between the saved and the lost, and there was no passage from one realm to the other. That rich man immediately began to think of his five brothers. He knew that they had only made plans for their earthly life and none for eternity. He pled for Lazarus to have a resurrection and warn his five brothers about what was waiting for them after they died. The answer of Abraham was that they had the word of God and if they wouldn’t list to the word of God they wouldn’t listen even if someone rose from the dead. Each one of us also has the word of God.

     This farmer teaches us that it is the height of foolishness to make all our plans and preparation for this earthly, physical life and not plan for our meeting with God and the eternal destiny that follows.

     Perhaps you are one who should begin your plans and preparations for your meeting with God and eternity today. Forgiveness of sin and salvation of soul is available to all because Jesus Christ received the punishment for our sins. "For Christ also suffered once for sins , the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God…" 1st Peter 3:18. When we ask Jesus to forgive our sins and save our souls in sincerity and faith, He will do it. "for whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved." Romans 10:13

Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scriptures quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted


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