Luke For All Series
July 30 & 31 – Luke 12:13-21
“Parable of the Rich Fool”
August 6 & 7 - Luke 12:32-40 "Watchfulness"
August 13 & 14 - Luke 12:49-56
"Not Peace, But Division"
August 20 & 21 - Luke 13:10-17
"A Crippled Woman Healed
This week and next week are going to be a series within our “Luke For All” series. Over these two weeks we will hear Jesus teach about God’s economic policy for disciples. God created all and God provides all. Why don’t we get everything we ask for from God? There are many answers, but let’s hear what Jesus teaches in this week’s scripture lesson.
The Parable of the Rich Fool
13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
Jesus identifies the issue between these two brothers as greed and the desire for the abundance of possessions. Jesus then tells a parable about an amazingly productive farmer. The farmer’s crop realizes an abundant harvest and he faces his storage problem by building more barns, storing (hording) his abundance, and taking life easy. The problem arises when he suddenly dies and has no one with which to share his abundance and he finds he cannot take it with him. The problem is not a failure of inheritance laws, but a problem of relationships. The farmer never shares. The farmer never says thanks, even to God, for his bounty. The farmer relies only upon himself and trusts his ability, his productivity, his understanding only.
That is why the last verse, 21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” Rings so profoundly. The essential relationship is with God. God loves us and we should love God in return. God will forgive. God will guide and provide. God does not give as the world gives. God gives what is most needful, not what we most want. That is why we don’t receive everything we ask for as though God where a heavenly dispensing machine. We are forced to understand the nature of God and a new perspective for life.
This reading from Simon Tugwell excerpted from A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants, pg. 250 helped me.
Before we get too carried away with thoughts of God’s power, we should listen attentively to what St. Paul says about the “weakness of God” (1 Cor.1:25), which is a vital part of God’s self-revelation. If we look at the way in which he discloses himself as Jesus Christ we have to acknowledge that he does come into our world with a great display of superior power; in fact, this was one of the temptations which our Lord had to resist as being contrary to his mission, contrary to his true nature (Mt. 4:5ff). He does not come in strength but in weakness, and he chooses the foolish and weak and unimportant things of the world, things that are nothing at all, to overthrow the strength and impressiveness of the world. As we saw earlier, he is like the judo expert who uses the strength of his opponent to bring him to the ground; it is the art of self-defense proper to the weak.
This is why, if we keep clamoring for things we want from God, we may often find ourselves disappointed, because we have forgotten the weakness of God and what we may call the poverty of God. We had thought of God as the dispenser of all good things we would possibly desire; but in a very real sense, God has nothing to give at all except himself.
From Prayer by Simon Tugwell.
Be rich toward God and all that is needed will be provided.
Blessings, Pastor Tom