As words are going to my ears and being processed for clarity by my brain, I get a warning alert. A word has just been discovered that does not seem right. My brain informs me that the word is “Killed” and it came from the statement that ” God killed the Rich fool”. I switch from my brain and look inside. There is an uneasiness in me; something is not right about this statement.
Since the time i first came across the parable of the rich fool, there are 3 lessons that have been drafted out from the story:
1. The Title itself which is Parable of the RICH FOOL.
2. God killed the Rich Man.
3. The Rich Man was killed because he did not give glory to God.
These 3 lessons have been passed around for a long time and have caused a lot of people to have a wrong mindset about God so today I will like us to look at the story and have a rethink.
13 Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
14 But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” 15 And He said to them,“Take heed and beware of covetousness,[a] for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”
16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’
21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
Biblegate way. NIV. Luke 12:13-21.
The story starts from Luke 12:13 where a man asks Jesus to tell his brother to divide his inheritance. Jesus is not happy and he shows this in his reply (vs 14). Obviously this man was trying to tell Jesus to use his authority to order his brother to share the inheritance. funny isn’t; why couldn’t this guy tell the brother himself or sit down and discuss with his brother about their inheritance unless there was something fishy or wrong. Anyway Jesus begins the story about the rich man.
He tells of a rich man that invested on the soil or ground and his investment yielded profit and then this rich man decides in his heart to build a bigger barn and praise himself for his achievement (vs 18-19). Most Christians condemn this man for praising himself but don’t we all fall into this temptation. Lets not forget Hezekiah whom God healed at his dying bed, decided to show off his treasures to the Babylonians whom later the bible records took everything away (Hezekiah 39) or King Solomon who the lord gave great wisdom; at a point decides to follow the footsteps of the rich man. Thereafter, his sufferings, lessons and realisation gave birth to the Book of Ecclesiastes.
So Jesus was trying to tell us about man’s covetousness which is natural in man. Let’s get back to the story. In vs 20, something occurs and here is one of the misconceptions; God reveals that ” Fool! This night your soul will be required of you”. Looking at this it sounds as if God is taking his life but what it does actually mean is Death; that means he was going to die. This rich man was not aware that he was going to die. I remember a plumber, in our area who passed away recently. I met this guy working on Friday and on Sunday he was gone. On further investigation, this man died while sleeping; He was not sick and maybe had an internal bleeding but one thing for sure is that he never knew he was going to die.
The rich man was planning his wealth exhibition without the knowledge of his death and God was aware of it which was why he was called a fool. This nullifies the belief that he was killed because of not praising God which most Christians feel is revealed in vs 21. When the bible talks about being rich towards God, it is not emphasising possessions. Jesus had early warned the people about earthly possession.
Being rich toward God means storing his words as a treasure in your heart. When I talk to people of some of the advice my mother gave to me, i notice that when she is around, she is pleased. She feels praised because I am following her advice. God is not only praised when you sing to him but also when you keep his words and follow them to heart. That’s being rich to God.
In summary, Jesus is letting us understand that material possessions will never stay with us when we die so why do we try and kill ourselves over it. If we are financially free, that’s great as God wants his children to be prosperous. However we should have an understanding that God has given us the power to possess wealth; not just that alone, but all things are ours so its not a big deal that we have to flaunt it or make a news out of it.
It’s not about God, It’s about us.