All Kinds Of Greed 3 — The Rich Fool
Chan Gin Kai
And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
Jesus warned his disciples to be on their guard against all kinds of greed (Luke 12:15). We explored four different kinds of greedy people in our last two articles: the Hoarder and the Green-Eyed, the Entitled and the Spendthrift.
We shall explore one more character who deserves a full-page article on his own, the Rich Fool. Let’s hope we do not exhibit any of his characteristics.
Foolish View Of Blessings
The Rich Fool’s farmlands “yielded an abundant harvest.” Whether we feel he deserved it or not, he was abundantly blessed.
He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:45b)
Yes, God blesses the good and the evil, the wise and the foolish. We sometimes wish otherwise, don’t we? We hope He’ll bestow the righteous with largesse, but come down hard on the sinful. But God loves us all.
If God blesses the good and the bad, what incentive is there for us to be righteous? The difference comes from the consequences of our response.
The Rich Fool did not credit the blessings to God. In his mind, the abundance must have been the reward of his work, intelligence, or luck. He was full of himself, and God played no part in his considerations.
When we are not thankful for God’s blessings, we’ll attribute every good thing we enjoy to our hard work or our talents. Our ego puffs up and our gratitude diminishes. This is a very dangerous position to get into, as we know pride goes before a fall.
Foolish Focus In Plans
The Rich Fool’s pride and greed affected the focus of his plans. He planned to tear down his barns and build bigger ones to store his surplus. Now, how is that foolish? It is actually a wise idea.
His foolishness lies in having no thoughts for anyone else other than himself. In that short parable, the word “I” appears six times, and the word “my” appears four times. There is no mention of God, family, friends or employees.
There is nothing wrong in drawing up strategies and making plans. In fact, it is foolish and irresponsible to go through life or work without plans, schedules and budgets. The question is, who do our plans include? Are all of our plans selfishly focused on ourselves?
Death didn’t figure in the Rich Fool’s plans either. God questioned him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?”
Does death figure in our plans? I’m not talking here about being adequately insured (though that’s certainly a good idea). I’m asking if we remember our mortality. We will all die and face God in judgement. Have we planned for that? Are we prepared to face God?
We plan for the important things in life: education, career, marriage, housing, kid’s education, retirement, and more. We consider so many aspects of our short life on earth. But we forget about something far more important, our relationship with God.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
God loves us and has included us in His plans. Do we include God in ours?
Foolish Use Of Wealth
The Rich Fool intended to use his wealth to “eat, drink and be merry”. He did not consider how he could use his wealth to bless others.
How do we use the wealth, time and talent that God generously gives us? There is certainly nothing wrong in enjoying God’s gifts. But He intends for us to use them to glorify Him and serve His people too. Instead, we’re miserly with our money and time as though they’re all ours to keep. We’ll lose them all when we die.
We won’t feel any unhappier if we don’t add to our collection of shoes. But imagine the joy it’ll bring a poor child if that money provides her free lunch in school for a year? The shoes will only clog up your closet. But think about the kind of impact you can make to the child’s life if she can stay healthy and get an education.
We want a strong church community because we know how much it impacts our lives. But how do we get a spiritual community? It is only as healthy as we make it to be. The community is made up of multiple participants, each playing our part to encourage its growth. Do we invest time, effort and love to make our relationships edifying? And are we spreading God’s love to non-believers?
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19)
Read more about ‘All Kinds Of Greed’:
Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. He serves as a mentor to young professionals in the EDGE Ministry of the Central Christian Church. He describes himself as “just a sinner who wants to get right with God”.