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Quality of Discipleship - Stewardship (The Parable of the Rich Fool) (Luke 12:13-21)Dr Daryl Miller, September 25, 2016
Part of the Quality of Discipleship series, preached at a Sunday Morning service
SUNDAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 25
Title: Quality of Discipleship - Stewardship (The Parable of the Rich Fool)
Text: “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15).
Scripture Reading: Luke 12:13 - 21
On two recorded occasions, our Lord called a person a fool. In the closing illustration of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus called a man foolish who did not
build the house of life on the solid foundation of the Word of God (see Matt. 7:24?–?29). The covetous rich man of Luke 12:13?–?21 is a specific example of this kind of fool. He is an example of poor stewardship because he built life on material possessions rather than on being rich toward God.
Jesus sounded a warning against covetousness: “Keep a sharp eye and avoid every form of covetousness, for not even when one has abundance, does his life consist of his possessions” (Luke 12:15, trans. A. T Robertson).
I. The occasion of the warning (Luke 12:13?–?15).
Jesus was speaking to the multitudes about the Holy Spirit. One man rudely interrupted by saying, “Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me” (v. 13). This was not Jesus’ business; it was a matter for the courts to decide. Jesus saw the man’s covetous motive. The man’s desire for material gain was, in his eyes, more important than the rights of others and than the spiritual ends of life.
II. Jesus told a story to illustrate the truth (Luke 12:16?–?21).
A. Picture the man whom Jesus called a fool. He apparently had many good qualities. His honesty was not questioned. He saved his money. He was a good businessman. He provided employment to many as he built bigger barns. He was no miser. Having received plenty of material things, he was willing to retire from the field. Having no evidence to the contrary, we assume that he was a good provider, temperate, and thrifty. In the eyes of his fellow humans, he was successful. Yet Jesus called him a fool.
B. Why did Jesus call him a fool?
1. He forgot God. In his soliloquy, he used “I” six times and “my” six times. He was an egotist. He spoke of “my fruits” and “my goods” and seemed to have no gratitude to God for fertility of soil, for the right amount of rain, for adequate sunshine, or for strength of mind and body to plan and execute the business operation.
2. He forgot his fellow men.
a. He could not plow, sow, or harvest without the help of others. How could he build new barns without the help of others?
b. He did not consider the needs of others. “What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?” (v. 17). Were there no poor people to help? Were there no hungry to feed? Was there no Lazarus at his door asking for food? He had no concern for others. His concern was for the amount of goods laid up for himself.
3. He was a spiritual pauper. He thought that the blessings of life consisted in goods. Think of how much in this world he must have missed. He knew nothing of worship. He had no sense of God’s fellowship. He was foreign to the joy of sins forgiven. He had never rejoiced in the salvation of his children. He did not know the joy of sharing, helping, and loving.
4. Death came. He went into eternity unprepared. “Whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (v. 20). Often when a person dies, someone asks, “How much did he leave?” The correct answer always is this: “He left it all.”
This man probably was unsaved. In a similar parable in Luke 16, the rich man went to torment. If he was a saved man, he was a pauper in heaven. He had sent on no heavenly treasure. The late Pat Neff, president of Baylor University and governor of Texas, said, “The way to send wealth to heaven is to invest in someone going there.” There were no souls in heaven that the rich man had helped to win; no missionaries to thank him for their support. Jesus concluded, “So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (v. 21).
How can one avoid this man’s folly? Only by the acceptance of life and all that pertains to it as a trust from God. God continues as the Owner. One is to use life for the purposes the Owner desires. Material possessions as servant can glorify God and help humankind. Material possessions as master are “covetousness, which is idolatry” (Col. 3:5).
God is concerned with the way his servants acquire wealth as well as with the way they use it. Good stewardship calls for Christian practices in the getting as well as in the giving.
When people travel from one country to another, they must have their currency converted to that of the country they are visiting. Material possessions are converted into heavenly treasures by using them for good purposes. Jesus made it clear that by helping others we are serving him.
Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”
The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matt. 25:34?–?40)
God wants us to be rich in heaven. “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). “Freely ye have received, freely give” (Matt. 10:8). “He which soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully” (2 Cor. 9:6). “Thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:14). “Whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mark 8:35).
Fools are not rich toward God. Wise people are rich toward God. In this life the latter have many added joys. In death they go to heaven where they enter the kingdom prepared for them and hear the Lord say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matt. 25:21).
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13And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. 14And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? 15And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. 16And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. (KJV)