by Clint Brown
Jesus taught great moral truths by using great human tragedies. One such episode is His parable concerning "The Rich Fool" in Luke chapter twelve. Like many of us, this man nobly earned an honest living through hard work and toil, but unfortunately, like many of us, he failed to realize that God was the source of his blessings (Acts 14:17). Like many of us, this man was not openly involved in immoral or unholy conduct, but unfortunately, like many of us, he failed to realize that God expects not only abstinence from evil but active involvement in doing good (Rom. 2:7). Yes, like many of us, this man enjoyed an abundance of wealth in this life, but who, like too many of us, failed to use his great physical means for great spiritual gain. Thankfully, the Savior uses this story to teach us wise lessons from a foolish man. What do we learn from this parable?
We also learn that God views our lives in terms of spiritual increase, not physical increase. The Lord promises to give good gifts to His children (Mt. 7:11). However, the Lord expects much more from those who have been greatly blessed (Lk. 12:48). The five-talent man of Matthew 25 was not rewarded because he had many talents, but because he used them to God's glory. The one-talent man was considered "wicked and lazy" because he failed to produce the increase possible through the talent that was given him (Mt. 25:26). In the same way, the "Rich Fool" had not used his goods for growth and they would eventually waste away in His "bigger barns" (Lk. 12:18). If he would have given them to the poor, the Lord would have given him more (Lk. 6:38). This is the increase that God desires in each one of us. Let us learn this "wise lesson," and not waste our opportunities for spiritual growth.
Most importantly, we learn of the grievous sin of covetousness. The Lord began the lesson with the admonition to "beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses" (Lk. 12:15). This is the main failure of the rich fool. He was guilty of what may be the worst form of covetousness – he coveted his own goods! Instead of using them to relieve the hunger of the needy, to clothe the bodies of the poor, and to comfort the sick (Mt. 25:42-43), he hoarded his goods to himself and sought to take his own comfort (Lk. 12:19). The Lord correctly designates him as a "fool." His goods may have comforted his physical life, but his misuse of them proved his perdition in the afterlife. So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God (Lk. 12:21).
We can learn these wise lessons from the foolish man, but what is more important is applying those lessons to our everyday lives. Like the Lord said, "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them" (Jn. 13:17). To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin (James 4:17).
Reprinted from http://calera.cjb.net.
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