Summary: A sermon on being released from the bondage of "stuff."
“Don’t Be a Rich Fool”
By: Ken Sauer, Pastor of Grace United Methodist Church
Soddy Daisy, TN
We Methodists have always been known for our good music!
Methodists are a singing group of Christians.
Back in the 1700’s there was a certain tavern-keeper who liked music and thus decided to attend one of John Wesley’s meetings in order to hear the singing.
He resolved, however, not to listen to the sermon.
So he sat with his head down and his fingers in his ears.
But, when God wants to speak to a person’s soul, God has His ways.
A fly flew onto the man’s nose and when he tried to swat it away, he heard nine words that changed his life.
He heard John Wesley say: “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
From that moment on the tavern keeper became restless.
So he returned the next night, listened intently and was converted! (borrowed from a sermon by: Joel Santos)
Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew, “What good will it be for a [person] if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a [person] give in exchange for his soul?”
The human soul is a priceless treasure.
It is the real you!
In fact, the Bible teaches that our souls are more valuable than the whole world!
And yet, so many of us “sell our souls” for what are surely petty bargains.
We are more than just material beings; the Bible teaches that we are body, soul and spirit.
And we also see that a great price has been paid for the soul, but not in an earthly sense.
1 Peter 1:18-19 says: “you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed…but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb, without blemish or defect.”
Jesus Christ allowed Himself to die on a Cross for your soul and for my soul.
His death pays the penalty for the sins of those who believe in Him by faith.
But it is possible for us to neglect and to lose our souls…those things which are truly most valuable!
In our Epistle Lesson that Barbara read for us earlier Paul tells us that as Christians we are to set our “minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God…”
…We are told to “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to [our] earthly [natures].”
And one of the first things listed is “evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”
We are to put to death greed, which is idolatry!
How many of us have done that?
There’s a commercial that is currently running on t-v.
It’s for a car, and I can’t remember the brand, but the commercial is geared toward mainstream Americans…trying to help give direction on how we should spend our great piles of money.
It shows several ways that people waste their money, and then it shows the car they are advertising and the slogan comes up: “Don’t waste your money.”
That’s good advice, but I think it also speaks volumes about how so many of us have more money than we know what to do with!
And that’s kind of the situation that the farmer in our parable for this morning finds himself in.
But before we get to that, let’s take a look at the setting of Luke Chapter 12.
Here we find Jesus teaching the multitudes that gathered around Him as He made His way toward Jerusalem.
In the summary statements about Jesus’ words to the crowds that precede our lesson, we find Jesus warning against hypocrisy, promising God’s ultimate and revealing judgment, calling for a rightful fear of God in recognition of God’s ultimate authority, and promising God’s grace and care.
As Jesus teaches the people this way, a man from the crowd urges Jesus to settle a dispute he is having with his brother over an inheritance.
But Jesus refused to, and, instead warned against the consuming destruction of life by the love of money.
Jesus refused to become involved in controversy over “things.”
He shows no interest, and He denounces greed.
And then Jesus tells a parable.
And it’s a strange and challenging story.
Many of us may find this parable uncomfortable because, in America at least, we are considered wise if we hold onto our surplus and lay it up for the future.
This is called “financial planning.”
The other tendency is to use our surplus to acquire more extravagant consumer items.
This could be called “upgrading.”
The “rich man” in the parable, who could count up his amassed fortune and sit back and relax, living well off the interest, is the model for American retirement.