Parables - The Rich Fool

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The Parable of the Rich Fool

Text: Luke 12.13-21



(1)    In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6.19-21).

(2)    What would you do if you won $50 million dollars?


I.                   The Background (Luke 12.13-15):

A.    A man interrupts Jesus in order to ask a question.

1.      The question was out or order.

a.       This indicates that he was not concerned with spiritual matters.

b.      As one wrote regarding this person, “his whole heart and life were absorbed with the present life” (Pack 1:68).

2.      The question concerned the family inheritance.

a.       Jewish law was clear about this matter.

(1)    The eldest son was to receive a double portion while the remaining sons were to divide among themselves the rest (cf. Deut. 21.15-17).

(2)    Most likely, this man was the younger brother and he wanted more than his share.

B.     Jesus responds by stating that He was not going to bother with this matter but also points out the dangers of greed.

1.      The greed to which he refers is “a selfish ambition to get more and more; they are never satisfied with that they have” (Pack 1:69).

2.      This greed is “an unlawful desire for possessions … making earthly possessions our chief aim for life” (Roy 45).

C.     Basically, Jesus notes that life is more than things and in order to illustrate this, he tells the parable of the rich fool.

II.                The Parable (Luke 12.16-20):

A.    The story is about a man who was rich and had a very productive year.

1.      He already had barns full of previous crops; therefore, he had no place to store his latest crop.

2.      He decides to tear down his old barns in order to build new, bigger barns that would store his previous crops along with his latest crop.

3.      As he is doing this, he boasts of the future, which involves plans to eat, drink, and be merry for years to come.

4.      His plans are altered as God tells him that he would die that very night.

B.     Notice please:

1.      His emphasis is on himself.

a.       In our text, the personal pronoun “I” is used 6 times and the pronoun “my” is used 5 times.

b.      As one wrote, “This man’s heart was as full of self as his barns were full of fruits” (Shelly 37).

2.      For this reason, God calls him a “fool.”

a.       A fool is one who is “utterly devoid of mind … senseless, without reason” (Shelly 38).

b.      He is a fool because of what he forgot (Pack 1:70).

(1)    He forgot other people

(a)    Should have asked “How can I use my blessing to benefit others as well as myself” (Shelly 37).

(b)   Paul tells us that we are to work in order to have to provide for ourselves but also to help those in need (cf. Eph. 4.28).

(2)    He forgot that a man is more than what he owns.

(a)    As one wrote, “A serious error was the assumption that his soul could be satisfied with material thing” (Jackson 92).

(b)    The love of money is the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6.9-10).

(3)    He forgot the source of real happiness (cf. Ecc. 12.13).

(4)    He forgot God (cf. James 4.13-15 – Have God in your plans).

(5)    He forgot death (cf. Heb. 9.27).

III.             The Application (Luke 12.21):

A.    Do you seek earthly or heavenly riches?

B.     Remember what Jesus said, “For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

(Matt. 16.26)


(1)    Today, you can be spiritually rich!

(a)    In Christ, you can have ALL spiritual blessings (Eph. 1.3).

(b)    So much so, that your cups runs over with blessings (Psa. 23.5).

(2)    Will you come to be in Christ (Gal. 3.27)?

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