Luke 12:18-21 provides us with a captivating parable. Jesus was speaking to what Luke called ‘an innumerable multitude’. A question arose from one of the men in that great gathering. It prompted a lesson so important that no one desiring to make heaven his or her home can afford to miss it. Jesus tells the gathering, “The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said to him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be require of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?”
In this brief parable, Jesus exposes four deadly delusions. They are as fatal today as they were then.
- The rich man mistook himself for God. Take a pencil and underline words like my, I , and myself. How many do you find? The parable is also peppered with phrases like “he thought within himself”, “This will I do”, “all my fruits”, “I will say to my soul, Soul thou hast much” and “take thine ease.” He believed that he was the Captain of his ship, the Master of his own soul. God was nowhere to be found in the rich man’s thinking. “ He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26).
- He mistook his body for his soul. His concern was for provisions for his physical body. His ultimate goal for the future was to be able to eat, drink, and be merry. He wanted to take it easy and indulge himself.
- He mistook temporal possessions for eternal treasures. His thoughts centered on “my fruits”, “my goods”, and “my barns”. He was concerned about material assets and made no provision for his eternal soul or for everlasting life. Creature comforts were more important to this man than the Creator’s plans for him.
- He mistook time for eternity. He thought that if he had all of his physical needs taken care of for the foreseeable future then everything would be all right. He presumed upon unchanging conditions. He acted as if things would always be as they were as he was building bigger barns. “But God said to him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (v.20)
Will you hear Jesus’ concluding words on the matter? “So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (v.21). Finally, may I add the words of Jesus just a few verses later? “For where your treasure is there will your heart be also” (v.34).
“ The prosperity of fools shall destroy them.” (Proverbs 1:32)
~ Brother Roy