Summary: There are spiritual dangers with some of the possessions we own.
For many, there is a process in life.
That process is that we set the goal,
we make the sacrifice,
we achieve the goal.
Then we sit back and take pride in our accomplishment, we feel good about what we have done.
We set a lot of goals for our lives, and we approach these goals with the mindset that the process of life is that threefold plan, set the goal, make the sacrifice, accomplish the goal.
We want to GET a house.
We want to GET a job.
We want to GET a new car.
We want to GET a boat.
Even the things that we want that are not actually THINGS, such as a wife, husband, family, happiness, we still think in terms of GETTING them. These are goals, and we feel that if we make the right sacrifice, we can accomplish the goal. Then when the goal is achieved, we sit back, proud of what we have done.
That is the mindset many of us have.
Set the goal, make the sacrifices, and sit back and enjoy the achievement. But is this the kind of mind set, the kind of values that we ought to have?
That is, in fact, the very kind of attitude that we see in the parable for this morning.
Jesus begins this parable with a preface, in which he gives a warning, telling us to "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."
Then Jesus goes on to tell this parable.
“The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ’What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
"Then he said, ’This is what I’ll do I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 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 that person is more like a 21st century American than anyone else in Scripture. He is concerned with success and retirement benefits; he is a hard worker who wants an easy retirement. Taken on face value, it is difficult to see what is so bad about the way he is handling his affairs.
But like so many of the parables of Jesus, this one has a villain, and the Villain is this hardworking farmer.
As the parable continues, God says to him, "You fool!" This very night your life will be demanded from you."
Our mind set is that we set a goal, we make the sacrifice, and we achieve the accomplishment. And we take pride in the accomplishments.
But is this the right frame of mind for us to have?
This is the frame of mind that the villain in this parable has, and look where it got him.
But this is such an all American frame of mind. This way of thinking seems so healthy.
How many of us live by this mind set, and teach this mind set to our children?
What is wrong with this way of thinking? What is wrong with the rich farmer in this parable?
His primary problem is that he is a man of possessions, who does not understand possessions.
Now there is nothing wrong with owning possessions, I’m glad I own two cars. I need both cars; my wife and I can’t work without two cars.
I’m glad I own clocks and radios and TV’s. They make life easier, and I enjoy them. These are possessions.
I’m glad I have my own home now. That is a possession. And there is nothing wrong with owning possessions, but there are dangers in owning possessions. There are hazards. And the rich man in this parable makes several mistakes, falling into these dangers.
First of all, he thinks he controls his possessions, but that is not true. In reality, his possessions control him.
When we lived on the coast of Georgia, one of our neighbors bought a boat. He later said this was the second happiest day of his life. He could go fishing, shrimping, crabbing, or just relax in his boat. But he soon found that in order to spend an hour on the water, he spent 3 hours getting the boat ready and then securing in afterwards. Eventually, the whole time he was on the water, he began to think about having to get back to clean it up. He and I went fishing one day. After a full day we returned to the marina to have the boat pulled out of the water so he could drive it back home. Someone came up and asked us "which of you two own this boat?"