Summary: God wants us to enjoy life, but not without a relationship with Him. Beware of the danger of greed and placing one’s confidence in earthly possessions.
Jesus was teaching His disciples when He was interrupted by someone who wanted him to resolve a family dispute over inheritance. He was not really asking for advice. He wanted Jesus to stand on his side and "tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me." (v.13). He wanted Jesus to get the money for him, but Jesus saw the true problem in his heart - greed.
And He uses the opportunity to warn the people of the danger of greed and placing one’s confidence in earthly possessions. This is very relevant to us today, because for most people our main priority in life is to get wealth and have a good life.
Look at the story.
I am sure many of us can identify with this farmer.
He is a happy man - a rich man, and had a good harvest. This is the essence of life for many people today - to be successful and to be rich. This farmer enjoyed that. And he is looking forward to more of this - 12:19 "And I’ll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.""
Now - BUILD BIGGER BARNS. Not because he do not have any - he needs bigger ones. So he will tear down the old, and build new and bigger ones.
Everything was fine and good. In fact, this is the typical lifestyle of many Singaporeans. We want to improve our lifestyle, increase our wealth, find more ways to enjoy ourselves. We want to store up our wealth and possessions so that we can enjoy them when we are old. We are always planning for the future, making good investments in stock, insurance, unit trusts, and properties.
Everything was fine and good. Nothing wrong with that. Until we read verse 20. God enters the picture. When God enters, everything changes. Luke 12:20 "But God said to him, ’You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you…’"
All he cares about was BUILD BIGGER BARNS, but God brought in a new perspective. The farmer won’t live to see them. In fact, he won’t live to BUILD BIGGER BARNS. He made plans only for this life but not what comes after. God was not in his life. He did not consider God at all.
Luke 12:20-21 "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?’ 21"This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."
Jesus wants us to see things in the right perspective. He told the young man who came to Him: "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." (12:15)
12:24 "Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them."
12:27 "Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labour or spin…" and look how God clothes them.
The farmer was diligent but Jesus points out that he was not the one who produced the crop. True, he planted and tended and harvested. But he did not make the rain to fall, or the sun to shine. He did not make the seed to crack open, sprout and multiply. He could not even explain the process. If he were honest with himself he would acknowledge God as the provider.
Today if we view our possession or success in life as the result of our own talent and effort, we will think of ourselves as owner of these things. But in reality, we are all stewards of what God has provided. Whether we are into farming or into manufacturing or into business, it is God who provides. He gives us the ability to do whatever we are doing. He gives us the ability to think, to calculate numbers, to make plans… even to speak and to breathe. All of us earn our wealth with borrowed abilities.
v.20 "This very night your life will be demanded from you." The Greek verb apiteo is literally "to demand back; required back" - conveys the idea of life as a loan that must be repaid to God upon demand. Acts 17:28 ’For in him we live and move and have our being.’..."
When God enters, this farmer realised that there was ONE THING he did not prepare. He made good plan to store his crop, made good plan to save up for the future, he made plan to enjoy himself. In fact, he has done many things good but he did not prepare for his own soul. Death was not in his planning book.