THE RICH FOOL
He had achieved the American Dream!
He worked hard,
he made it to the top.
He grew his business to the point where he even had to build new warehouses to store his surplus inventory
Most of us would look at a man like that and say, “Wow! What a success!
“What a role model!”
“Who is this man? I want my children to meet him!”
Most of us would consider this man a hero.
-If he wrote a book, we’d read it!
-If he gave a seminar, we’d attend it!
–We’d look at this man and say, “Tell us the secret of your success!”
But God looks at the man and says, “YOU FOOL. Here you are at the end of your life, and everything you thought was important means nothing.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to get to the end of my life and hear God call me a fool. So let’s get clear on what this guy did wrong.
The Rich Fool made four mistakes.
1st MISTAKE – He forgot what life is for.
In Luke 12, verse 15—Jesus says,“Watch out! Be on your guard…”
Be on your guard! Sounds like he’s going to talk about an enemy – something scary and dangerous—
“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of GREED.”
Jesus says that Greed is something you have to watch out for:
-it is the enemy of your soul!
What is Greed? Greed simply means wanting more than you need. It doesn’t just apply to money and possessions. It can also apply to accomplishments, activities, or recognition. I have been accused of being greedy—not because I love money – but because I try to do too many things with my time. Opportunities come along, and I say, “Yeah I wanna do that! And I wanna do that! And I wanna do that!” A minister friend of mine said to me, “Claude, you’re greedy!”
Jesus says, “Take care! Watch out! This is an enemy that you have to guard against!”
And then look at the rest of v. 15:
“…for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”
So, if life does not consist in the abundance of possessions, then what does it consist of? You’ve heard me say this before – and you’ll hear me say it again:
LIFE IS ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS!
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
- That’s what life is for
*And if you let any kind of greed get in the way of your relationships with God and people— you’re a fool.
2ND MISTAKE – He forgot about helping others.
16 “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
OK, wait, wait, wait, wait. He’s got all this all this surplus grain – all this extra food:
- Were there no poor people he could have helped?
- Were there no hungry children he could have fed?
Did it never cross his mind that instead of building bigger barns, he could use his surplus to HELP OTHERS?
Does it ever cross our minds that maybe God has blessed us to be a blessing to others? That maybe the point of surplus is not to store it, but to share it?
If you look at the verses I just read, you’ll notice that the personal pronoun I, me, or my appears 10 times. In 3 short verses, this guy says I, me, or my 10 times. He is stuck on himself – and in God’s eyes, that’s a problem.
*And if you spend your life focused on yourself and never helping others–you’re a fool.
3RD MISTAKE – He forgot to look beyond this life
20 “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?’”
Not too long ago I was in an airport. I went to the restroom, and there was this guy who had set up house in the men’s room:
-He had hung pictures on the wall
-Hung curtains on the stalls
-He had an easy chair and a table
-Little bed in the corner
-Stack of groceries
-He had a big flat-screen TV
I said, “What, do you live here?” And the guy said, “Oh no, I’ve just got a long layover on my way to Chicago – and I wanted to make myself at home while I’m here.” I said, “How long is your layover?” And he said, “Almost 5 hours.” And I said, “You’re gonna be here 5 hours – and you did all this?”
Now, you know that story is too ridiculous to be true. But in a lot of ways you and I are like that man in the airport. We’re only here on this earth for a short time. But we put a lot of time and energy into making ourselves comfortable HERE. We forget that we’re just passing through. Our real home is somewhere else.
I’m not saying that you should deny yourself all earthly comfort, sell your house and go live in a shack. But somehow we’ve got to remember that compared to ETERNITY, our life on this earth is going to seem like a 5-hour layover
* And if you spend your whole life thinking about this layover, giving no thought to your Final Destination–you’re a fool.
And that leads into the 4th MISTAKE – He forgot God.
21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
I wonder how many of us are rich in the things of this world, but dirt poor when it comes to the things of God?
A friend of mine went on a mission trip to Mexico. He said, “When I got down there and saw how poor they were, I felt sorry for those people. But after I lived with them for two weeks, and I saw their faith, and their love for each other, and how they rejoiced over the simplest things, I felt sorry for US.”
The danger with being comfortable in this world is that we have a tendency to forget God. A recent survey of Americans showed that the number who said they were interested in spiritual things went DOWN as the household income went UP. The Bible talks about this over and over and over – the more comfortable we are in the things of this world, the more likely we are to forget GOD.
*And if you get so focused on money and possessions and accomplishments that you turn your back on the One who made you–you’re a fool.
So, Four mistakes made by the Rich Fool:
- He forgot what life is for
- He forgot about helping others
- He forgot about to look beyond this life
- He forgot about God
Which of those mistakes are you making right now?
The good news is, there’s time to turn around. There’s time to stop and make corrections.
I invite you right now to bow your head and talk to God. Confess your foolishness. Receive God’s forgiveness. And ask for God’s help to make it right.