The Parable of the Rich Fool
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Freeman) - August 4, 2013 - 12:00am

Our Gospel today is again another lesson in life that our Lord Jesus Christ wants all of us to know by heart and hopefully learn from it, especially those amongst us who are rich and so blessed with material goods. It is the Parable of the Rich Fool and you can read it in Luke 12:13-21.

“13 Someone in the crowd said to [Jesus] “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” 14 He replied to him, “Friend, who appointed me as our judge and arbitrator?” 15 Then he said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” 16 Then he told them a parable.

“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. 17 He asked himself, ‘What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’ 18 And he said, ‘This is what I shall do; I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods 19 and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!”

20 But God said to him, “You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong? 21 Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.”

*  *  *

If you’re a Bible reading man, chances are you must have noticed that this particular parable is found only in Luke, while the other three Evangelists didn’t mention it at all. It makes you wonder why this is so. I hope that you read this story slowly so you would understand why our Lord Jesus Christ chastised this rich man calling him a fool.

First of all, it seems that our Lord Jesus Christ was walking amidst a huge crowd. This is why as he walked around in the crowd, people would just ask or yell at him to do something for them. It was then that someone asked the Lord, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” Our Lord replied to him in a brutally frank manner saying “Friend, who appointed me as our judge and arbitrator?” Indeed, the Lord replied correctly, that he wasn’t appointed as an arbitrator to their family feud, therefore he doesn’t have anything to do with their family problem.

But while the Lord didn’t interfere with the man’s family problems, he did teach the crowd something when he said, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” Perhaps our Lord knew the problems of the man who approached him, which was about his brother not sharing his inheritance.

If families in ancient times had problems regarding greed, it is no different today where families even from very wealthy backgrounds end up fighting their legal problems in our courts because one sibling would not agree to share their inheritance. This is why our courts are clogged with so many cases with sibling fighting for every bit of property belonging to their parents. Some children even have the gall to sue their parents for their inheritance, which is a violation of the 5th Commandment, Honor thy Father and thy Mother.

So back to the issue of the rich man, where did he go so wrong? If you read it closely, the rich man merely realized that his barn was too small especially that his land was having a bountiful harvest. So this man who was thinking of his future decided to tear down his old barn and build a bigger one. Now isn’t this a laudable albeit practical way of ensuring that all his harvest can be stored in a bigger barn?

Ahhh… however this man’s plan reveals his true self… that he really wanted to store his harvest so he could get good things so he could rest, eat, drink and be merry. In short, this man was utterly and totally selfish and greedy and only thought of himself. He should have believed that the bountiful harvest that he was enjoying came from God and that he didn’t need a bigger barn, if only he thought his neighbor could also use his surplus harvest. But that was the farthest from his mind. In fact God was never in his equation despite the bountiful harvest that the Lord has blessed him.

By now you must have heard that phrase, “You can’t take it with you.” This parable gives us an idea that this man wasn’t married and had no children. So when God will take his life away, who would inherit the bigger barns that this man was planning to do?

This parable also tells all of us that God who is the giver of life can take away our lives at any moment. This is why we should store more heavenly treasures than store earthly treasures. This is one parable for those who are blessed with so much material wealth for them to learn how to share these bountiful blessings that only God can give to us his children that he loves.

*  *  *


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with