Summary: Sermon on the Rich Farmer. Living for God, not for the world's definition of success. Luke 12:16-21
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”.
And don’t think this scripture verse is alone in the Bible. It turns out, this same idea is found in many places, in many different situations and examples. In Romans 12:10 it says, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
And in Philippians 2:4 it tells us, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
The reason it goes over this lesson many times is because people just don’t get it. When it comes to our time, are we selfish? When it comes to our skills, our talents, are we selfish? And in this particular verse, when it comes to our resources, our money, our paychecks, are we selfish? Do we give to God what He asks for, what he deserves? Or do we make excuses? Can we say, God blesses us because we bless Him? Can we say we give Him our best time? Or our best talents?
What about our Spiritual life? Are we selfish with that as well? DO we think we will have lots of time to change our behavior? Do we think we have lots of time to say we are sorry and go to heaven? Do we realize a person dies in this country from a car accident, every 13 minutes? These are all people, that thought they would go home today and wake up tomorrow. Every single one of them, thought they had more time. And that is just from car accidents. Add in all the other ways that people lose their life and someone gets promoted to glory every 5 seconds or so. Many of those, I would add, almost every one of those people, thought they would wake up tomorrow and have another day to live.