Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, “What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?” And he said, “I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”” But God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
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Grace and peace to your from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
Today as we celebrate the Harvest festival we have for our meditations this wonderful and rich parable of Jesus. Usually it is called the parable about the Rich Fool. Just imagine that Jesus spoke it to people almost two millennia ago, but its teaching is as fitting to our world today as it was then.
So let’s look at this parable and see what can we learn from it. Jesus begins with the warning. “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
Did you hear this? Did you hear what I just read? And no one is going to object to these words? Good. You see, I would assume that what Jesus said wouldn’t make sense to majority in the West.
Live doesn’t consist of abundance of possessions?! Really? How come? Doesn’t it? So many people today live believing, or at least acting as if one’s life would consist in the abundance of his possessions.
You know how people think and act these days. “O, I feel bad, I’ll go and buy something new, I’ll go and get a new toy for myself, so that there is some happiness in my life. What to do on our holiday, on Sunday? Let’s go to a shopping center, let enjoy abundant life?”
I am sure most of you know at least somebody who thinks and acts this way. That’s why this parable is so useful for us. It helps us to see what happens if people begin to believe that life consists in the abundance of their possessions.
Today we’ll reflect of three things that happen. You can easily remember them. First is fear. Second is loneliness. Third is emptiness. Fear, loneliness and emptiness. Let’s see how Jesus helps us to see it.
And Jesus told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, “What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?” And he said, “I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.””
Now we get to the first problem – fear. What kind of fear? Fear of death. Fear that we may not have enough. Fear of poverty. Fear of being out of control. Fear not to be able to make up your own mind but to be dependent on circumstances. Fear to lose your face, your status if you don’t have enough.
No one can escape these fears if you begin to believe that your live consists of the abundance of your possessions. Why? Because if your possessions is your god in whom you trust then you can never have enough. The more possessions you have the more you need to care for them, not to lose them.
The more you have the more you need to insure, the more you need to protect, keep and restore. It goes as never ending circle. That’s one aspect. But also, if you put your trust in your possessions then there will never be enough, for they can’t give you what you expect from them.
They can’t give you inner peace and security about your future. No way. They can’t give you true happiness and joy. Yes, they promise it, that’s why so many run after them. It seems that if only I can get this or that, or be able to afford this or that, then… no!
As soon as you get there, bar is lifted higher and higher. Thus you remain with fear, anxiety and unfulfilled longings. That what idols do to those who are blind enough to trust them. They promise you paradise, they make you to sacrifice your soul to get there, but they never get you there. Just one more thing… just one more sacrifice… no…
How many live thinking, OK, if only I can get this car, or this house, or a house in this place, or if only I can make this trip, or if only I have this much saved. And you can get used to running from one think to another, because, of course, for a while there is some kind of satisfaction that you have got there. But it doesn’t last.
Another thing is loneliness. That’s wonderfully shown in this parable. In the Middle East, people use to discuss everything. Not only with relatives, but also with neighbors and their community. Especially when it came to making important decisions.
This man was about to make rather important decision. With whom did he discuss it? With whom? He spoke to himself. He had no one to talk to. No one. He was rich already, he already had made his possession his god, his hope.
This is what happens. If your possessions is your god, then that’s the most important thing for you. You sacrifice everything to it. We can see how it works. If you want to be rich, you need to work hard.
You need to give up all the other things that may take up your time. You need to sacrifice them to your god, you need to focus on what is important. Friends, relatives, marriage, family; you can’t have a time for everything. Unimportant things have to go. Only your god remains.
Loneliness is the prize for your effort. You all know what a great feeling it is when you can share your achievements, your joys with your loved ones. Come, see, listen… this is what has happen. What a great joy!
We know that our joy is not complete unless we share it. The rich man was wonderfully blessed with this plentiful harvest, and he shared it …with himself. I guess with time you get used.
Or you get obtuse, and don’t notice your loneliness anymore. If even twenty cents can be bigger than Sun if you keep them close to your eyes, then how much more having abundant possessions can hinder you from seeing true God.
The third thing was emptiness. The Bible reveals that we are the only creatures created in God’s own image and likeness. We are the only Creature created for the fellowship with our Creator. We are the only creatures with whom our Creator communicates.
All the other species do not possess this gift. They are led by their instincts. For them the abundance of food really is what their live is about. Do you see what happens when someone begins to believe that their life consists of the abundance of their possessions?
They are emptied of their humanity. They become more like animals who don’t even realize that there are much higher things than full stomach and abundance of food for tomorrow. People are emptied of their humanity.
When you look from the distance it may seem that if only we had so much, if only we had this and that, like those people have, then… it is a tragic, tragic thing that happens if your life consists only of what you possess.
Then you miss out on what it truly important. Relationships. With your Creator and Redeemer and with people around you. You miss joys and struggles of simple life in our daily callings as spouses, as parents, as friends, and brother and sisters in Christ.
Last year we were invited to the evening in Adelaide, quite splendid one, I guess the guests where people who have their abundance. It was sad to see how empty this gathering was, how empty the people, how shallow the conversations, how little to share.
But God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
This is how it ends. For everyone who has chosen a wrong god. Everything you have, everything you are, these are God’s gifts. Even our life. And we never know when it will be required from us. May be this night… where are our treasures? In banks, in properties, or in Christ?
Why was this man called fool? Because he was rich? No. Because he appreciated his possessions? No. Because it was a stupid idea to build bigger barns? No. But because he believed that life consists of the abundance of his possessions.
To be rich and prosperous are not bad things, nor foolish things. Possessions or money are not some kind of evil. Not at all. They are God’s blessings. Blessings of generous Creator.
Just imagine how much could be done if you are a wealthy person, generous with your possessions, using them for the benefit of other and for the sake of the Gospel?! How much good you can do.
As Jesus said: ““The land of a rich man produced plentifully.” It was the Creator who blessed this man with this plenty. The man didn’t work harder, he didn’t work smarter, he didn’t achieve it, it was God’s gift to him. Good gift, given to be used properly.
Now, here come the Good News. There is this One, who can take away all our fear, all our loneliness and all our emptiness. And His name is… yes, the Triune God, God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
In Jesus Christ the true God has revealed Himself fully, in Jesus He has shown what His attitude towards us truly is. Are you afraid about your future? Do economic and climate realities scare you? Are you worried about great changes in society? I guess we all are.
Then know, this God, who gave up His life to save you, He is also the Creator of the Universe. He is the One who opens His hands and provides for every living being in due time. He is in control of everything and He is your Father is heaven.
Your Father! You loving Father. Infinitely better than any earthly father, whatever loving they may be. And this God, who loves you more that His live, has promised to provide for you. Rejoice, be safe, be grateful and at peace, your life is in His hands. And if you have such Father, you are free to share His gifts with others.
Loneliness. Yes, sin separates us from one another. If we make possessions our god they do the same. But here He comes, Jesus Christ. His mission is to restore all broken relationships. First of all – with our God.
You know that our God is Triune God, that is – one God, but three persons. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is why we say that He is love. For this God has existed in loving relationships between the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit since eternity. And now, He wants you to be a part of this loving communion.
Possessions made a god make you lonely, Jesus Christ brings you in loving communion not only with Himself, but also with countless number of His saints, your brothers and sisters in Christ. He brings you in the greatest family ever. In the divine family, where you will be loved and cherished forever, no matter what.
Once your let Jesus Christ to change your life, you will never be lonely. You may be more prosperous, or less prosperous, you can be poor or very rich, but if Jesus Christ is your God, you will never been alone. Jesus family is your family.
Emptiness. O God! How could we describe the fullness that comes from you! First, Jesus Christ has come to restore our humanity. He helps us to become who we are created to be, truly human, living trusting in our Father and sharing His gifts with others.
Jesus Christ fills us with heavenly blessing. He helps us to rejoice in being restored in our relationships with our Creator, He pours over us His live giving forgiveness, He fills us with joy knowing how precious we are in God’s eyes.
He makes our lives overflow with joyful activities, as we serve all people in our lives, even our enemies, praying for them, and sharing with them all that we have received from our heavenly Father.
He fills us with heavenly joy when we try to witness about Him to those who are less fortunate, who haven’t heard about the Triune God yet. He allows us to be His coworkers both caring for those in need, and bringing others into His Kingdom.
Christian live is as full as full it can be. Thanks be to our God, Jesus Christ! Remember, fear, loneliness, emptiness? Forget about them! Jesus Christ brings you peace, community of love and fulfilled and joyful life. That’s His gift to you.
As we reflect on these countless gifts of God, we can set our hearts into the right direction. We can put our trust in our Lord, we can rely on Him, and we can use all His abundant gifts the way He uses them. Serving others.
I pray that these meditations on Jesus words would help you to see and appreciate God’s blessings in your life. I pray that Jesus could look to us and say – these are wise and prosperous people, they know where the true treasures are, they have chosen wisely. Amen.