Summary: In the Parable of the Rich Fool the Lord gives us five reasons that show us how foolish this man and his way of thinking was!
“The Stories that Jesus Told”
Sermon # 5
“The Man God Called A Fool”
The Parable of the Rich Fool
Luke 12: 13-24
This morning we are beginning Stewardship month here at First Baptist Church. In this morning’s bulletin you will find a brochure that we have put together to explain the principle of Stewardship. I hope that you will take the time later to read it and seek to understand the principles that it lays out about being a steward of your time, your talents, your finances and of the Gospel. Stewardship is based on the realization that everything we have belongs to God. Stewardship thus becomes “using the resources that God has given in our lives to accomplish His purposes.”
I feel a little like the pastor who stood before his congregation and said, “I have good news and bad news! The good news is that the church has all the money it needs…The bad news is that is still in your wallets.”
It seems appropriate as we begin our stewardship emphasis to deal with “The Man That God Called A Fool” in our series “The Stories That Jesus Told.” The man in today’s parable is pronounced a “fool” (aphron) by God. The remarkable thing is that this person that God calls a fool, we would very often call a success. A fool in biblical language was not a description of mental ability but of spiritual discernment. The question that I would like for us to consider today is; “Why did the Lord consider this man a fool?” And perhaps even more sobering thought is, “Am I a fool in God’s eyes?”
Jesus is in the middle of a sermon, when he is suddenly interrupted by a man who is dissatisfied over what he considers to be an unfair division of his father’s estate between himself and his brother. I find it oddly comforting that even the Lord Jesus Christ could not keep everyone’s attention. One such man says in verse thirteen, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."
Apparently this young man is the younger of two brothers. According to Jewish law, his older brother would have been the executor of the estate and would have received the largest portion of the inheritance and usually would have tried to maintain the estate intact.
This man really didn’t ask Jesus for a decision on what would be a fair division of the estate, he just demanded, “Tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me!”
Jesus did not answer as he was expected to do. In verse fourteen he says to the man, "Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?" Jesus refuses to be sidetracked from his mission of seeking and saving the lost.
Instead Jesus does not make a legal judgment but a moral one. Jesus knew that this family feud over inheritance was only a symptom of a greater problem, greed. In fact the “you” in verse fourteen is plural indicating that both brothers have a problem with greed. As long as both brothers are suffering from greed no settle-ment would be satisfactory.
Jesus tells him that the most important thing is not for him to solve his inheritance problem but that his heart to be changed. But if we are honest, “How often have we gone to God asking him to change our situation rather than asking him to change our heart?” I would dare say that most of our prayers are that God would solve a problem in our lives. Perhaps our prayer should be, “God here is my problem, please change my heart?”
Then in verse fifteen Jesus uses the occasion as a “teachable moment” and says, “Take heed and beware of covetous-ness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses."
When he says, “take heed and beware” he is literally saying “be on guard against all kinds of greed.” The area of danger for this man was “greed” or “covetousness” (pleonexia) and it means “the lust to have more than one’s fair share, a grasping for more that is never satisfied” or to put it another way covetousness is “wanting more of what you already have enough of!”
“How Rich We Are”
“From the standpoint of material wealth, Americans have difficulty realizing how rich we are. Going through a little mental exercise… can help us to count our blessings, however. Imagine doing the following, and you will see how daily life is for as many as a billion people in the world:
1. Take out all the furniture in your home except for one table and a couple of chairs. Use blanket and pads for beds.
2. Take away all of your clothing except for your oldest dress or suit, shirt or blouse. Leave only one pair of shoes.