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.”
To answer the man’s financial disagreement with his brother, Jesus doesn’t get stuck in the blame game or the details, but He lifts the issue higher as one of the heart. With all human issues Jesus doesn’t deal in the back forth of who is more right or less right; instead He wisely points us to the core of the issue—our heart or approach.
Jesus challenges the man to rethink the whole area of finances and He does this by telling a parable or story. Remember, by telling parables Jesus was revealing the hidden things of the Kingdom. He therefore is saying that this is how Kingdom finance works. The world does it one way, but this is how the King of this amazing Kingdom has set it up to usher in God’s Kingdom. This is a way more significant parable than we give it credit for because if humans became alive to what Jesus is saying then extreme poverty could be ended in the world.
Jesus tells a story of rich man who is a landowner and farmer. His land produced many crops, and therefore he was very well off, both because of the land value and the value of his crops. Interestingly Jesus doesn’t judge or ridicule the fact that this man was rich or had much. Jesus again helps us to not make sweeping statements about the rich or the poor or the middle class. Jesus elevates the issue as not one of rich or poor—but one of generosity or greed.
This rich man’s issue is coveting. He is not content in what he has, so he begins to dream of building more ways to store and hoard, so that he can possess more. But it is clear that because the crops were so plentiful, he doesn’t need to store all of this harvest. Many people could be blessed in his town or city who were going without. The landowner has received much from the land that God created, but he doesn’t stop to think once about how he could bless the God that gave him this abundance.
Do we stop to think of how we can be generous to the One who created all the things that we freely enjoy? Do we stop to think about the one who gave us the ability to work, have talents, abilities and the means to earn income? How could we begin to stop our endless striving for more and begin living a life of Kingdom generosity?
// Pastor Josh Kelsey