Are We Rich Toward God?
When Jesus walked the earth he told stories everywhere he went. Jesus traveled all over
and healing along with his disciples.
And always there were huge crowds following Him. Jesus was a great Teacher and he often taught
his lessons by telling short stories or parables which often had hidden
meanings. These hidden meanings or
truths challenged those who were spiritually hungry to ask more questions and
discover truths and spiritual treasures.
Jesus promised that anyone who was serious about looking for truth and
life would find it. (Matthew 7:7 & Luke 11:9) Israel
One of Jesus’ stories or parables was the Parable of the Rich Fool. It goes like this: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. And the rich man thought to himself, “What shall I do? I have no place to store all of my crops and my goods.’ Then the rich man said, ‘This is what I will do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.” (Luke 12:16-18)
“And I will say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for yourself for many years. Take life easy: eat, drink and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul will be required of you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’” (Luke 12:19-20) After Jesus told this story He added: “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:21)
I don’t think Jesus is saying here that it is wrong for a person to be wealthy or to store up provisions for themselves and their families. There are many scriptures in the Bible that encourage people to work and save for their futures. (Luke 14:28, etc) And there were many very rich men in the Bible who were also very close to God – Abraham, Job, David and Solomon are just a few.
I believe that Jesus is telling us in this little story that life consists of far more than just being rich or getting things. We can store up provisions that we may need in the future but that is not enough to make a good life or a life that is pleasing to God. Making money should not be our first priority. Our first priority is to follow the Lord. If our lives are not “rich toward God” all the money in the world cannot lift us out of our poverty.
God wants us to enjoy a full and abundant life and He has made provisions through His Word for us. He has promised to supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19) and He has promised to fulfill the desires of our hearts. (Psalms 37:4) Jesus promised: “I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”(John 10:10) Jesus has come to give us an abundant life and that doesn’t necessarily mean having a big bank account. Jesus said: “A person does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)
When the rich man in Jesus’ story saw his big crop, instead of thanking God and rejoicing that now he could take care of himself and also feed some of his poor neighbors, his only thoughts were for himself. He immediately began to worry about how he could build bigger barns and store all of his produce. It was folly for him to call all the crops “his” crops. Scripture teaches that all that we have is lent to us for our use by God. Everything belongs to God and we are stewards of our Lord’s goods.
The rich man says to himself: “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years: take your ease: eat, drink and be merry.” (vs.19) But life is more than gourmet food, trendy clothes and constant entertainment. This foolish man has put all of his efforts into producing food and comforts for his body during his time on earth. But he is destitute of that which would enrich his soul and make him rich toward God and rich for eternity.
In this story Jesus is warning us not to live our lives just for ourselves. Perhaps that is why Jesus is calling the rich man a “Fool”. Jesus seems to be teaching that only a fool believes that he has the right to run his own life! The worldly person thinks that she owns her own life and that she can live it just as she pleases but the spiritual person gives her life to God and tries to follow His will. Scripture says: “He who loses his life for My sake will find it and he who finds his life will lose it.” (Matthew 10:39)
Everywhere in the Bible we find warnings about what our relationship with money and valuables should be. This is important enough that one of the Ten Commandments commands us not to “covet”. (Exodus 20:17) The word “covet” means to desire or to lust after. Wanting something may not be wrong, but wanting it at the expense of others can cause trouble. Scripture says: “The love of money is the root of all evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10) When a person “covets” something that another person has, he may rob or kill that person to get what he wants. Many wars are fought because one nation wants something that the other nation has. And the love of money has been used to separate friends and family members also.
Jesus’ story ends with God speaking to the rich man: “Fool, this night your soul will be required of you.” (vs.20) That very night the rich man would die and God would require an accounting of what the rich man had done with his soul - the soul and the life God had given him. Only a fool forgets that his soul belongs to God! And like the rich fool in Jesus’ story, we too will someday stand before God and give an accounting of what we have done with our soul and our life. I wonder how that will go? Will our lives have been spent building bigger barns for ourselves? Or will we be found to be “rich toward God?”