Summary: #14 in Proverbs & Parables series Using the Parable of the Rich Fool in Luke 12 and Proverbs - focuses on Putting GOD ABOVE GOLD, PEOPLE ABOVE PLEASURES, and ETERNITY ABOVE EASE. Preached on EASTER Sunday.
Rich toward God
On Resurrection Sunday our thoughts turn to heavenly themes. We can sing about Jesus reigning in heaven as the King of all Kings and the Lord of all Lords. The image of the Lamb upon the Throne pictures everything Jesus did for us. He gave his life as the sacrificial Lamb, then He rose again and ascended to Heaven.
Jesus Christ conquered death, not just for Himself, but for each and every one of us! On Easter Sunday, we remember His amazing promise, “Because I live you too shall live.” John 14:19
Thinking about Heavenly Themes is more than just a good thing for us to do on Easter. Focusing on Eternity is actually essential for every Christian. In fact, Jesus taught that it is foolish … even dangerous … not to think beyond our earthly life. Jesus made a radical statement in Luke 12 He said, "I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. Luke 12:4
Don’t be afraid of someone who might kill you? That’s got to be easier said than done. But His death and resurrection gave these words clout! Jesus faced death head on … willingly. And then He rose again so that we would have no doubt. Death has been conquered. We no longer need to fear death.
But Jesus is not telling us we can breeze our way through life without a care in the world. Listen to His next words… I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Luke 12:5
In other words. Put your mind on eternity. Later, in Luke chapter 12, Jesus told a parable about someone who did NOT give any thought to eternity. Jesus told the Parable of the Rich Fool in response to a question:
Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me." Jesus replied, "Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?" Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." Luke 12:13-15
This man obviously assumed Jesus cared about money matters. But he was wrong. Jesus wasn’t about to get entangled in the messy squabble between two brothers. Jesus blasted through this smoke screen to show the real issue: GREED --- greed between two brothers who cared more for money than for each other. Then Jesus launched straight into a little story:
He told about a rich farmer who had a really good harvest one year. The farmer thought, Wow, this is great! I don’t even have room to store all this grain in my barns! What to do, what to do…. I know! I’ll build BIGGER barns! Then I can take life easy. I can eat, drink and be merry! Maybe I’ll take a Caribbean Cruise. Maybe I’ll buy a summerhouse in the Hamptons. Maybe I’ll…
Then God’s voice rudely interrupted his self-congratulations: 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?’ Luke 12:20
And in case they didn’t get the point, Jesus gave this clincher: This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God." Luke 12:21
What does it mean to be rich toward God? Well the parable made one thing clear. If you want to be rich toward God, you’re going to put GOD ABOVE GOLD.
1. God above Gold
What matters to you? God or gold? This week in our PUEBLO groups we’re reading Proverbs 27 and 28. The Proverbs remind us that earthly riches aren’t going to do us one bit of good when we enter eternity. Here are a few examples:
Riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations. Proverbs 27:24
Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a rich man whose ways are perverse. Proverbs 28:6
A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished. Proverbs 28:20
Here we see the proverbial picture of a fool. Only a fool would work for temporary riches and neglect to be rich toward God. After all, 70 or so years of earth time is nothing in comparison to eternity. A truly wise person plans for the future … not just for old age and retirement. For every one of us, a future beyond our time on this earth looms before us.
That’s what Resurrection is all about. Death is not an end, but a beginning. And since we are confident of life beyond the here and now, we ought to be thinking ahead. Here’s how I look at it: Why be a Christian at all if you’re going to be a half-hearted, poverty-stricken one. If you’re going to be a Christian, be a rich one!