The Poor Rich Man
Loving Father, You are my eternal hope and my eternal home. Thank You for watching over me today.
Read Luke 12:13-21
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“All Christians claim to have received a new life from Jesus Christ. What lifestyle, then, is appropriate for them? If the life is new, the lifestyle should be new, also” (John Stott).
“I want justice!” he cried. The truth, in fact, was one word shorter, namely “I want!” In a consumer society, the acquisitive instinct is so pervasive that we breathe it in with each breath. In the end, like city smog, it affects our health, curtails our vision and makes us more unaware of others. Yet people get very defensive if accused of being greedy, and conceal such longing behind “their rights.” That is why the storytelling approach Jesus used is so powerful. The audience relaxes and suddenly their defenses are breached.
Nothing in Jesus’ story leads us to believe that the successful farmer has prospered by unethical means. He has prospered by hard work and good judgment. You have to love the land to be a farmer, and then show perseverance and good management to stay with it year by year, combating the vagaries of the weather and the danger of disease or infestation that can destroy a crop. The issue is not his success, nor his future planning. His problem is in his heart. Gratitude to God and concern for others have been squeezed out. He has forgotten God, without whose blessing he would never have prospered. He has excluded others, even though all of us need others in life. Above all, he has become focused on himself. In so doing he has forgotten that the clock is ticking and that one day, sooner than he had imagined, he will be called to account.
The desire for more is addictive and destructive. In wanting more, we lose the things that really matter and hurt those we want to love. In the end it takes all we have, and leaves us with nothing. No wonder the only word that describes the poor rich man is “fool”!
A sign outside a church door read, “If you lost all your money, how much would you be worth?” How would you answer?
Lord, You’ve given me so very much. Make me a good steward of all You entrust to me, I pray.
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