Luke 12:15-21 NKJV
And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, 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.”
Most of the time we focus so much on how we can be rich for ourselves, that we do not stop and think about how we can be rich towards the Lord.
In Luke 12:15-21, Jesus tells us the parable of the Rich Fool who planned to build bigger barns and to store more crops for himself. However, God responds by ending the Rich Fool’s life because this man was not “rich toward God”.
How can a person be rich toward God? What does the phrase “rich toward God” mean?
The Rich Fool’s Problem
- He already had enough wealth (vs 16), but he was motivated by greed (vs 18)
- He thought that his security was in his accomplishments & in his wealth instead of God (vs 19)
- He planned to be unproductive for the rest of his life by gratifying his fleshly desires (vs 19)
- He did not realize that what he owned was only temporary wealth and of no use to him when he dies (vs 20)
- He laid up treasure for himself and was not rich toward God (vs 21)
Should I Be Rich Toward Myself?
In life many motivational books exist in the book stores that teach us to think and grow rich; or to live our best life now; or how to be a millionaire. However, most of these type of motivational books focus on self-achievement rather than on achieving the perfect individual will of God for a person. Such books do not help a person to seek God but they encourage covetousness and greed and to presume that obtaining worldly wealth is a reflection of one’s spiritual maturity.
The world systems persuade us to live our lives by living towards the goal of enriching ourselves. Therefore the world wants us to lay up treasures for ourselves and be rich towards ourselves. However Romans 12:2 tells us that we should not be conformed to the standards or teachings of this world.
Luke 12:15 – And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”
There is more to life than the pursuit of worldly wealth & possessions. Jesus tells us that our status in life or the quality of our life cannot be measured by our wealth or possessions. Our quality of life instead is measured only by God and how God Himself sees us.
How Can I Be Rich Toward God?
We are rich towards God when we do the opposite of what the Rich Fool was thinking
- We are rich toward God when give our income / finance into the things of God such as giving our church offerings or donating our funds to God-centred ministries. We can also be rich towards God when we generally have an attitude of generosity towards the poor, friends or even loved ones. The Rich Fool planned to invest his money only on himself and he had no spiritual plans for his money.
- We are rich toward God when we invest our time & energy into doing the work and will of God for our lives and for the edification of others. The Rich Fool only planned to retire and to spend the rest of his life eating, drinking and gratifying his fleshly desires instead of growing his relationship with God.
- We are rich toward God when we use earthly riches to show how much we value God. God was not included in the Rich Man’s plans. The word “I” is mentioned 6 times by the Rich Fool to emphasize that the Rich Fool was conceited and that he only thought of himself.
- We are rich toward God when we realize that our security is in God and that God Himself is our treasure and He is our riches. The Rich Fool thought that his security for the rest of his years would be found in his business investment. He was wrong. Only God is our security and without God we are not rich.
In your personal life, what are you seeking? Are you seeking the gift instead of the Giver? Are you seeking to be rich toward yourself or are you seeking to be rich toward God?