The Rich Fool

Today’s reading:  Luke 12:13-34

In 1980, Jeff Keller finished law school, passed the New York bar exam, and began his profession as a lawyer.  This was all he’d ever wanted since he was a teenager.  After 10 years of practice, however, he found himself unfulfilled and unhappy, dreading to go to work every day.  Through resources he ordered from a late night infomercial (remember this was back in the olden days…before we had the World Wide Web at our fingertips), he began to study the Bible and the writings of well-known authors and motivational speakers.  Eventually he left his law practice and embraced a career as an author/motivational speaker himself.  As the title of his book, Attitude is Everything (INTI Publishing, 1999) suggests, Keller built his second career on the following principle –

Your attitude has a substantial impact of your quality of life. 

Our scripture for today in Luke 12 is the story of the Rich Fool.  Jesus tells the story of a man who, after yielding a successful harvest, found he had no place to store his crops.  He set out to build bigger barns.  His goal was to store up enough that he could take it easy – eat, drink and be merry without a worry in the world.  This man’s attitude about wealth accumulation was completely focused on storing up treasures for himself.

Does this goal sound familiar?  To me it sounds like every wealth management/retirement planning commercial running these days (Close your eyes, do the orange Voya origami animals come into view?).  In 21st century America, we are inundated with the belief that putting enough money away to retire, to eat, drink and be merry without a worry in the world, is the way to happiness.

Honestly, this picture is VERY alluring.  At least until you get to see God’s response in verses 20 and 21 of today’s text –

“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” (Luke 12:21-21).

So let’s go back to our attitude.  Wealth accumulation in and of itself is not wrong.  Our attitude towards it the determining factor.  Just like the Rich Fool in this story who died before he could begin to use what he had stored up for himself, if we are focused on accumulating wealth only to enrich ourselves, we will enter eternity empty handed.  Our goal should be to see how we can use our money for God’s purposes.

Are you putting money away for retirement?  Do your financial goals include giving generously to others?  What about using your money to serve God and further his kingdom?  If your goals do not include furthering God’s kingdom and helping those in need, you better stop and check your attitude.