THE MAN GOD CALLS A FOOL
Luke 12:13 31
You may know the person God considers to be a fool. It is a frightening thought, but even you might be such a
person. To find out that you are such a person will probably come as a surprise. The world in which we live does
not necessarily agree with God's assessment. We learn about such a person from this very familiar incident and
parable from the ministry of Jesus.
Jesus made His statement in response to a request from a listener who evidently had not listened. It is rather
encouraging to those who preach to find out that it happened to Jesus too. Jesus had just delivered the profound
statements about the fear of man and man's eternal destiny, when the man spoke up saying, "Teacher, tell my
brother to divide the inheritance with me." All of the time Jesus had been teaching, this man had been pre
occupied with the will his father had left. Since Jesus was a rabbi, and rabbis helped with this kind of matter, he
would just ask Jesus to rule on the situation. His concern over some property kept him from hearing what might
have brought him eternal possessions. This can happen so easily. The reaction of Jesus was immediate and
firm. His mission to the earth was far more important than settling a family’s squabble over an inheritance.
It was to this concerned man, and to others like him, that Jesus gave the warning. "Watch out! Be on your guard
against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." Jesus saw
covetousness or greed as a threat to every one of us. It may come in many different forms so we are to watch
out for all kinds of it. We are to "guard'' against it. This means that we are to take active steps to keep it out of
our lives. In order to help us do this, Jesus gives us the parable which sets forth the futility of greed or
covetousness. You are familiar with the contents of the parable, but I want us to consider its implications for us.
In the parable, God says to the rich farmer, "Thou fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you." God
considers the actions of the man to be a reflection of a lack of reason, a lack of understanding, an act of folly.
Here is a person that the all wise God calls a fool!
I. GOD CALLS THE PERSON A FOOL WHO TRUSTS IN THINGS TO MEET THE NEEDS OF LIFE
The character in the parable was a very successful man. He was rich and getting richer. As far as we know, the
means by which he was acquiring his wealth were very legitimate and legal. Jesus describes him like this, "The
ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to
store my crops.' Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will
store all my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years.
Take life easy; eat, drink, and be merry."' To that point in the parable, I have not heard the Lord say anything
that we might not accept as a legitimate part of the American way of life by which all of us are influenced. But
what our Lord has just described are the actions of a man that God calls a fool.
A. The nature of covetousness is involved.
The word Jesus used in His statement means the desire for more. It is the itch for more. It is opposite of
contentment with such things as you have. Someone has likened covetousness to a thirsty man drinking salt
water. The more he drinks of it, the more he wants. This continues until finally it brings death. It is the nature of
covetousness that it keeps one from ever knowing contentment in life. There is always the plaguing desire for
B. Possessions create more problems than they solve.
You will note that the man Jesus described was not ready to enter into ease. He is simply promising himself that
he will do it someday. At the present, he is caught up in the problems that his prosperity has created. He is
involved in the headaches of expanding his storage space. Instead of enjoying his prosperity, he is busy trying to
manage it. But he keeps promising himself that he will enjoy it someday. This is just in the nature of earthly
possessions so you cannot trust them to ever meet the deepest needs of your life.
C. Wealth cannot buy even one more minute of life.
How long you live will not be determined by how much money you have accumulated, but rather by the God who
gave you life. Indeed, in the great issues of life, money is powerless. I have seen one of the dreaded diseases
fall upon a child who had wealthy parents and upon a child who had poor parents, but there was little difference
between wealth and poverty in those circumstances. I have seen death come to the rich and to the poor, but
earthly possessions make little difference. Death is still the same. God declares that the person who depends
upon "things" to meet the deepest needs of life is acting in an unreasonable manner.
II. GOD CALLS THE PERSON A FOOL WHO IGNORES THE DIVINE OWNERSHIP OF ALL THINGS
Jesus describes a man who sees himself as being the owner. He has a rather stupid view of the nature of the
world in which he lived, and of his
relationship to that world. You can usually spot such a person by three signs
A. He begins to speak of his ownership rather than his stewardship.
As you read the little parable, the rich farmer uses the personal pronouns, "I'' and "me" eleven times in the brief
verses. He sees himself as being the owner, and as being in charge of his future. He reflects no awareness that
God is the ultimate owner of all things and that he is a steward. There is no expression of gratitude to God for his
prosperity. He is ready to take full credit for the good that has come to him, and intends to use it accordingly.
How many people do you encounter who are concerned with their steward¬ship? Are not most of them inclined to
see themselves as owners rather than stewards? Are they not inclined to view themselves as being in charge of
B. He begins to measure worth in material values
. If you had asked this man, "What are you worth?” what do you believe his answer would have been? Without a
doubt, he would have told you of his holdings. He would have talked of acres and buildings and crops and
money. Do we not slip into the same trap? How many times have you heard the worth of a person set forth in
dollars and cents? I have heard it more than once this very week. A friend said to me, "He is worth at least twenty
eight million dollars." Is he? Or is it better to say, "God has made him the steward over twenty eight million
dollars"? Only God knows what he is worth, and He does not measure it in material values.
B. He begins to use wealth selfishly.
When man forgets that he is a steward, and begins to think of himself as an owner, he begins to think that he
has the right to do anything he pleases with his wealth. He begins to think about eating, drinking, and making
merry. Since it is his, he can indulge himself. Jesus describes such a person as a fool. He is failing to act
reasonably and with understanding.
III. GOD CALLS THE MAN A FOOL WHO PROVIDES EVERYTHING FOR THIS LIFE
This is the heart of his folly. The man Jesus described lived as though he would live on the earth forever. He was
not just saving for a comfortable retirement, he was hoarding for a life of ease. He was thinking only of himself in
this life. Then just as he was about ready to enter into the ease he had planned for, God called his name.
A. He ignores the possibility of death.
Jesus reminds us that man does not own his own life. He does not decide how long he will live. The God who
gave him the breath of life reserves the right to take it back whenever it pleases Him. Death is God doing just
that. It is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgment. Wise men always keep this in mind. Wise
men live their lives in light of eternity.
B. He ignores his accountability to God.
The fool does not consider that the Owner will want to know what he has done with the possessions. He thinks
only of today and of how much pleasure he can buy with what he has. He thinks only of the temporal. God thinks
of the eternal. The person is a fool who ignores this ultimate accountability to God, who regards his relationship
with the material as being permanent.
C. He misses his opportunities.
This attitude toward the material keeps the person from seizing the God given opportunities to use the
possessions in such a way that they become eternal riches. Jesus sums up the parable like this, "This is how it
will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God." He is rich in this world, but
poverty stricken in the life to come. He will stand before God penniless because all of his riches were earthly.
What are the riches "toward God"? They are faith, good works, compas¬sion, and ministry. When we use the
wealth of this world to express our faith, to do good works, to worship our Lord, to express compassion toward
someone in need, to minister to the needs of another, we become rich toward God. But those who are providing
only for this life have a way of missing these opportunities. They are acting like a fool in light of the fact that life in
this world is so brief.
Do you see why Jesus calls on us to guard against covetousness? it makes a fool out of us. In the light of
eternity, it makes us act in an unreasonable manner. This should cause us to search our hearts. It is possible to
be labeled by the world as being brilliant, but to be labeled by God as "the fool". Which will it be when you stand
in His presence at the last day?