Summary: Sermon on the Rich Farmer. Living for God, not for the world's definition of success. Luke 12:16-21

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The Famous Russian author Leo Tolstoy writes in one of his novels about a young man who owns a small farm in Russia. The farm is now his, because his father just died. With his father fresh in the ground at his feet, the young man begins to dream about expanding the farm, growing more crops and making more money. To his surprise a man walks up to him with an offer he cannot refuse. The man offers a simple deal. I will grant you all of the land that you can walk around in one day. The only rule is, he has to return to the same place he is standing, right next to his dad’s grave, by sundown. The next morning the young man gets ready to walk, looking at the lush fields in the distance. He thinks about it and figures he can walk around six square miles of land by sundown. That is much more than he already has. As he begins, he is strong, doesn’t say goodbye to his wife or children. He takes no food or water with him as he is focused on getting as much land as possible. By noon he is tired, but he is at the halfway point. He should return and claim his six square miles of land. But then he sees more fields, more fertile farmland. He picks up his pace and keeps walking. A few hours later he is tired, his legs hurt, but he goes on. With only a few minutes left before the sun goes down, he gathers all his strength, stumbles across the line, the new owner of fifteen square miles of land, and then collapses on the ground, dead. The stranger smiles and said, "I offered him all the land he could cover. Now you see what that is, six feet long by two feet wide, and I thought he would like to have the land close to his father’s grave, rather than anywhere else." Having said that, the stranger whose name is Death, disappears, saying "I have kept my pledge."

Scripture is very plain in this parable. The verses we heard a few minutes ago are not hard to understand. We cannot take anything with us. The day we leave this earth, we leave it the same way we came into it. Alone and penniless.

Many of us have already heard the joke about why we never see a hearse or a limousine with a trailer hitch on it. Because when we die, we cannot take the boat, or the camper, or anything else, with us.

Our scripture verse again, said, “And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 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 my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ “But 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?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God”.

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