Are you really wealthy? - The Parable of the Rich Fool

 Let us start with a question: Are you really wealthy?

Before answering the question, we should know what real wealth is.

There is a difference between rich and wealth.
If you have a lot of money with you, you are rich.
You might have inherited the money from your ancestors; or you might have earned it by hard work.
You may keep the money in bank or in your house without using it.
You may hide it from others or live a luxury life spending all or a part of it.
You may be kind enough to share a part of it to the poor around you.
“Rich” simply is like water you have in your large water tank which you pour out as you wish. 

It is a lazy dog which barks only when it is beaten by the master.
It decreases as you spend.
It has no personality and it is not faithful.

When you die, you leave everything for others.
This is the ultimate fate of a rich person.

But a wealthy person is different.
Wealth is different from rich.
Wealth is money or any property over which you have complete authority.

It is yours and you are the master of it.
Wealth is a faithful slave to a wise master.
Wealth works for you 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week.
Wealth works to multiply itself; it works even when you are asleep.
It multiplies even when you put no effort to it.
It provides you and multiplies itself again.
It is for you as long as you live and for your descendents as long as they live.
It has a personality and it is faithful to a wise master.
All its loyalty is for a wise master and it hates a foolish man.

Wealth is a loyal slave that works and multiples for a wise master even while he is inactive, unto eternity.
With all these thoughts in our mind let us get into today’s message.
Jesus talked about a rich farmer it in the parable usually known as the Parable of the Rich Fool.
We read the parable in Luke 12 : 15 - 21

The occasion

The occasion of this parable is that a certain man came to Jesus and asked him to arbitrate between him and his brother.
During the time, the firstborn was guaranteed a double portion of the family inheritance.
More than likely, the brother who was addressing Jesus was not the firstborn and was asking for an equal share of the inheritance.
Jesus refuses to arbitrate their dispute and goes to the heart of the matter: Covetousness!
Jesus warns this person, and all within earshot, that our life is not to be about gathering wealth.
Life is so much more than the “abundance of possessions.”

The Parable

Then Jesus goes to the Parable of the Rich Fool.

Jesus starts the parable with a warning about covetousness.
And Jesus gives a new wisdom that one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.
If wisdom of wealth is not the abundance of material possession, what else is?

The rich farmer in the story got an unexpected good harvest that year.
He had never got such plentiful harvest and so he had no store house sufficient to keep the grains, seeds and fruits safely.
He already had large store houses for keeping crops but the harvest is so abundant that time so that there was no room in his store house.
So he decided to pull down his store houses and built larger ones.
And then he will take an early retirement and rest and enjoy his life.

But the parable says that God called him ‘fool’ and foretold that he was going to die on that day itself.
God asked him a question: who will enjoy all these crops in the store house, if you die today?
Surely he had stored a good amount of crops but if he died the same day he could not enjoy even a single grain.
This was the tragedy.

There is one more sentence in the parable, concluding the story with a moral.
But before that, let me ask you another question: what was the problem with the rich man?

It is not wrong to be rich.
Abraham, Solomon and Job were not simply rich, they were very rich.
The parable does not say that he was an evil or good man.
We have no reason to say that he was an evil person.

It is really a blessing that he got a good harvest.
It is the result of his hard work.
There is no hint in the story that he adopted any evil method to create a great harvest.
It is God’s gift.
God kept his farm safe from all possible natural calamities like flood or draught.

His store house is small so he decided to build larger one.
Then a man cannot but enjoy his richness.
There is no evil in any of these things.
Wealth itself does not damn. Poverty does not save.
Wealth is not a vice. Poverty is not a virtue.

It is not riches but the "trust" in riches that dooms men.
The material blessings are not a window through which we should see God.

In the words of the rich farmer there is a tone of worldliness.
He forgot the God-part in the abundance.
Jesus does not appreciate it.
And Jesus goes on to clarify that this rich man was poor towards God’s Kingdom.

That is point – poor towards the Kingdom of God.
In the parable God asks the rich man a significant question:

What will happen to all his richness if he died that night?

The rich man did not foresee this eventuality.
He forgot that he may die today for the time of death is uncertain to all men.
Could he take anything along with him while he died?
Did he have any wealth in the Kingdom of God?
His answer was a tragic ‘No”.
He was oblivious to eternity.

He is a fool who forget the certainty of death and eternal life.
This man thought that his successful plan would extend his life as long as he wishes.
He envisioned the future as continually expanding and under his control.
But nothing could be further from the truth.

He had no investment in the kingdom of God - no riches laid up in heaven.
His affections were all fixed on this world, and he had none for God.

He failed to realize God’s plan for blessing him with a rich harvest.
He was not blessed by God to hoard his wealth to himself.

Let us also remember that we are blessed to be a blessing in the lives of others, and we are blessed to build the kingdom of God.
The foolish rich person was poor towards the Kingdom of God.
He decided to store his rich harvest in the wrong place.
Whatever care he may take, his store house is subject to the attack of thieves and rodents.

Mathew 6 : 19 - 21
19   "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;
20   "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21   "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.   (NKJV)

Is he not a foolish person who store up his treasure in a place attacked by thieves and rodents?
The place of thieves, rodents and rust is not a safe place to store our wealth.

We are fools when we store our treasure in the wrong place.

We are supposed to store our wealth in safe place for us to enjoy in the future?
The parable seems to advocate it.

Abundance is a blessing of God.
God may bless us with abundance of material possessions.
God may bless us with abundance of spiritual properties like peace, joy, love, hope etc.
Spiritual properties are available to the few chosen and we are one among them.
It is a special privilege and a special blessing upon us by God.

Why God bless us with all these?
Is it to enjoy everything ourselves and with our immediate family alone?

No; rather God wants us to share and spread what we have to the less privileged.
The less privileged include financially poor and spiritually poor people.
God wants us to live a blessed life by sharing, spreading and influencing others with all the material prosperity as well as all the spiritual property.
It is spreading, influencing and enlarging the Kingdom of God.
This is God’s purpose for our life.
If we fail, we are living a foolish life.

To be a fool is to have missed the point of life.

Rich Towards the Kingdom

Now there arises another question: How can we live rich towards the Kingdom of God?
Remember our definition of wealth:
Wealth is money or property that works like a faithful salve of a wise master and multiplies itself even in the absence of the master.
That means, wealth is a property in any form that is invested for a high return.

Combine all these three points we have been discussing above, to get the right answer.

1.   He is a fool who forget the certainty of death and eternal life.
2.   We are fools when we store our treasure in the wrong place.
3.   To be a fool is to have missed the point of life.

That means, to be wise:

·        We should live always aware of the certainty of death and eternity.
·        We should invest or store our blessings in a safe place where there is no thieves and rodents.
·        We should live fulfilling the purpose of our life to influence and enlarge the Kingdom of God.

Investing in the Kingdom

To be wealthy towards the Kingdom of God is to invest in the Kingdom of God so that it works and multiplies there for a high return as you finally enter the kingdom.

Look at the Rich Fool in the parable.
He has hoarded a huge possession on this earth.
But if he dies today he cannot take anything along with him to the other world.
And he miserably failed to invest in the Kingdom of God.

Which is better: to invest in this world or to invest in the Kingdom of God?
We need material possessions and money to live a comfortable life here on this world.
God is not against a comfortable life on this earth.
But we need a good investment in the Kingdom of God to live a comfortable life there.
All investments in this world return your money only while you live here.
No bank or any other financial institution assures you a return available in the Kingdom of God.
All material riches have one major weakness; they have no purchasing power after death.

The “rich towards God” are those who use what God has given them for others.
The rich towards God are those who invest in the Kingdom of God for a purchasing power in the eternity.

That means we need money to live in this world and also in the eternity.
We need an investment option to invest our money in the Kingdom of God while we are living here on this earth.
Only investors get a return.
So we need to invest for a good return while we are here on the earth and in future in God’s Kingdom.
The only option available is to invest in God’s Kingdom.
How can we invest in the Kingdom of God?

It is very easy to invest in God’s Kingdom.
Everything that you spend towards the advancement of God’s Kingdom is considered as an investment in the Kingdom of God.
Everything you spend in the name of Jesus is considered as an investment in God’s Kingdom.

That is fine.
Rich people with surplus money can spend money for the advancement of God’s Kingdom.
But, what about the less privileged with less money and less material possessions?
How can the poor invest in the Kingdom of God?

There is good news for the less privileged also.
God’s Kingdom record not the earthly value of the investment but the percentage of the invested money in connection with your total income.
That is a strange way of accounting, but that is how it works.

Remember the offering of the poor widow.
She put only two small coins in the treasury of the church.
But Jesus said that she gave more than the sum of all offerings made by the rich people in the church.
Because she gave all she had while the rich gave only a small part of their whole wealth.

The value system in heaven is different from the value system of this world.
Heaven counts the percentage of money invested in the Kingdom of the total money in our hand. 

So, there is a possibility for any amount, however small it is, to be considered as a large amount in the Kingdom.

There is one more attraction about the investment in the Kingdom of God.
The less privileged with nothing in their pocket also can make a good investment in the Kingdom.

The Kingdom of God accepts all kinds of things as investments.
Your time, health and materials possessions and all are accepted as investments.
This is in contrast with the world banks or financial institutions.
Here on earth, only money is accepted as investment.
But Heaven accepts all kinds of things – time, heath, money and everything.
Let us read some verses from the Bible.

Matthew 10 : 41, 42
41   "He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.
 42 "And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward."   (NKJV)

Luke 18 : 29, 30
29   So He said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,
 30 "who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life."   (NKJV)


Are you really wealth?

Real wealth should multiply itself and give us a good return when we retire in our life.
All our investments should support us in this world and in the eternity.

There is only one kind of investment that can fulfill the above two requirements.
That is investing in the Kingdom of God.

If you are investing in the Kingdom of God on a regular basis, you are really wealthy.
Or you too will be called a “Rich Fool”.
God gives us the ability to create wealth and manage it wisely.
It is God’s blessing out of his graciousness towards us.
God is the real source and owner of all our wealth.
God has entrusted us with his wealth for a special purpose.
So, material success should call for more humility and responsibility.
We should possess a greater sense of gratitude to the ultimate owner of all there is on earth and the giver of life.

Do not forget the eternal life.
Eternal life is longer and more meaningful than the life here on the earth.
So invest in the Kingdom of God to receive a good return while we are in this world as well as in the eternity.

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