The Rich Fool
A farmer has an abundant harvest, more than he could store in his barns. So he tore down the existing barns, built bigger barns to store it and save for himself so he could relax. Specifically, he was looking forward to taking it easy, eating, drinking, and being merry, for the rest of his days. Cue the voice of God: You Fool! Tonight you will lose your life, then who will have all of your stored up harvest?
Jesus wraps up the parable with the warning that the same will be for any of us, that store treasures and is not rich toward God.
I wonder where specifically this farmer went off track? He is described in the beginning as rich (but not yet called foolish)…so maybe leading into the abundance he is a rich + wise farmer. Having a good harvest or abundance isn’t bad. I don’t even know that storing the harvest was all that awful. He had to put it somewhere, right?! Although I’m not sure why he had to tear down the small barns and build the bigger barns…couldn’t he have built an extra barn for the excess? Why tear town the existing barns? I’d really like to ask this farmer a few questions. 🙂
It seems like it went downhill with his heart + desire. We don’t hear anything about a grateful heart for the abundance, a tithe or offering back to the Lord, and we don’t read that he sought direction from God on how to use the abundance. We don’t even hear any of his own plans to use the abundance to further the kingdom. He wants to relax and not have to worry about his future, keeping it in his own (perceived) control, relying on the abundance. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a good sabbath – we are even commanded to rest. But not forever!
The farmer’s plans sure sound A LOT like modern era retirement goals! Or lottery dreaming… “If I win the lottery, I am quitting my job tomorrow and living the good life”. While retirement planning is a good way to show stewardship over what God has provided, doing it without the Lord will lead us down a path like this Rich Fool. It seems like a fine line!
How much of my financial planning and saving is to be a good steward and how much is me wanting to have control? It feels hard to discern. Are my conversations with God about money sincere? Is my heart and mind completely open to whatever He would ask of me? I love this picture of having our hands open – fully willing to use anything the Lord gives, however He directs. And it’s when our hands are fully open, we are also able to fully receive what He has for us.
Earlier this week I left a conversation with my jaw wide open and a tear in my eye. Truly humbled by someone I really don’t know that well – but I crossed paths with Bob and wished him well in his upcoming “retirement”. I asked him what he had planned, to which he quickly replied “FIND A JOB”! What I know about Bob is that he has a heart for the Lord and a heart for kids. His career has been in shaping children, and at home, he and his wife have fostered and adopted children. I really don’t know much more about his family or his story, other than he was at the point in his career where he either could retire or had to retire, and yet he wasn’t planning to truly retire. He shared that he needed to keep working to get these kids through college. I think about the choices he had to make when welcoming kids into his home, and knowing it would push back his time to retire. I wonder what else he and his wife have sacrificed for the kingdom. Would I have a heart like Bob, who likely sees his peers “retiring” and he is retiring from one career and actively looking for the next.
Lord, thank you for all the prosperity you have given me. Thank you for the talents and opportunities to prosper. Help me to surrender any control or fear about money, and have complete confidence in Your provision. Please put people in my path that have current needs, more than the future me might need. Give me wisdom in being a good steward and keep me from being a fool! Thank you for people like Bob that show me how to be rich toward you. Amen.