Monday, March 19, 2012


Luke 12:20-21, “But God said to him, ‘Fool!’ This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

The barn-builder of Jesus’ parable was wealthy, but foolish. His counsel to his own soul was deceptive, his barn-building efforts ill-advised. He stored up treasures for himself, but was not rich toward God. He was well-to-do from an earthly perspective, but bankrupt in respect to the life-to-come. He should have thanked God for the rich harvest. He could have used his surplus to provide for the needs of others less-fortunate. He should have been “rich toward God” (Luke 12:21).

Covetousness is a grevious sin that is at the heart of many sins. It is this sin which was led to the fall of angels and man. Adam and Eve were not satisfied with their estate, they coveted more and lost paradise. Since that day man’s existence has been plagued by an insatiable desire to have more. Enmities, strife, jealousy, rivalries, dissensions, divisions and the like can all be traced back to this fountainhead (Cf. Colossians 3:5; 1 Timothy 6:10). God’s word gives this counsel to the rich: “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed” (1 Timothy 6:17-19). It is a good thing to be content with that which God has provided and generous towards others (Philippians 4:12-13; Hebrews 13:5).

J. C. Ryle commented on this passage: “When can it be said of a man, that he is rich toward God? Never until he is rich in grace, and rich in faith, and rich in good works! Never until he has applied to Jesus Christ, and bought of him gold tried in fire (Revelation 3:18)! Never until he has a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens! Never until he has a name inscribed in the book of life, and is an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ! Such a man is truly rich. His treasure is incorruptible. His bank never breaks. His inheritance fades not away. Man cannot deprive him of it. Death cannot snatch it out of his hands. All things are his already—life, death, things present, and things to come (1 Corinthians 3:22). And best of all, what he has now is nothing to what he will have hereafter. Riches like these are within reach of every sinner who will come to Christ and receive them. May we never rest until they are ours!”

Contrast the greedy machinations of the wealthy fool with the generosity of the believers of Macedonia. They were given to give inasmuch at they had first given themselves to God (2 Corinthians 8:5). They begged Paul for the favor of giving to the needs of others (8:3). They gave out of their poverty and beyond their means (8:3). They may not have have been rich, as the world defines riches, but they were rich toward God and and that is what ultimately matters! He is no fool who is rich towards God. Or, as Jim Elliot, put it, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.”

Pastor Jerry

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