“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. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ’ – Luke 12:18-19 NIV
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Jesus Christ had just addressed the request of someone in the crowd who had pleaded for his intervention in the issue of property dispute between himself and his brother. Whilst letting the person know that he was not the right person to whom such request should be addressed, he had advised everyone listening to be on the watch and on guard against all kinds of greed as there was more to life than having possessions in abundance – Lk. 12:13-15.
He went further to buttress his point with the parable of a rich man who had just experienced abundant harvest. The harvest had so much exceeded his expectation since arrangements made for storage of the harvest proved insufficient, so he thought out the most ideal solution, which was the expansion of the storage capacity to accommodate the abundant harvest. He however also thought in his mind that he needed to take life easy, eat, drink and be merry since according to him, he had enough grain stored up for several years – Lk. 12:16-19. Jesus revealed that the man was considered a fool by the Almighty God adding that a demand was made for his life that very night with him not knowing who was going to inherit all he had prepared for himself – Lk. 12:20. He concluded the parable by affirming that similar fate awaits all who decide to store up possessions but are not rich towards God – Lk. 12:21.
The conclusion of Christ makes it primarily clear that the problem was not the storing up of riches by the successful farmer but the feeling of self-sufficiency and self satisfaction which made him not think of being rich towards God. His thoughts were more about how he could enjoy this world rather than how he could use what he had to store up riches for himself in heaven – Matt. 6:19-20. Jesus revealed that the man was considered a fool by the Almighty God. The English dictionary defines a fool as someone who acts unwisely or imprudently. To be unwise will mean to lack wisdom whilst to be imprudent will mean to do things without careful thought for the future. Going by the above definitions, the rich man was really a fool.
The very obvious fact about this parable is that although wisdom may be a virtue in the course of making wealth, not every rich person is wise, just like the one in this parable. Some according to God’s standard and expectation can still be fools. The rich man in the parable of Jesus Christ was a fool because;
- He was not wise enough to see that the unexpected abundant harvest was not due to luck. It could also not have been that he thought it was his dexterity as he was obviously not expecting that size of harvest. Had he thought there was any other person who contributed to his abundant harvest, he would have thought of appreciating that person firstly.
- If he had also thought of another person outside himself as being a contributor to the success, he would have tried to find out what the interest of that support is and at least in appreciation try to meet that interest. Not doing that will imply that he felt justified to have been given such support even if that was the case so there was no need to show any gratitude.
- He was not wise enough to realise that impressing that support could also be the key to securing the support in the future. He simply could not reason into the future.
- He rather thought to himself that he has enough for life and so will not need that support again. He was so foolish as to believe he knows what the future held for him. He seemed to know how long he will spend on earth and what all his future demands will be. It could have been the case that all he stored will finish and he would still be alive to live in poverty, but the Almighty God will not even allow that option. He made the move that cut short his life whilst all he thought he would eat was now going to belong to another person.
What a foolishness indeed! Most Christians today actually live the life of the foolish rich man. It may not just be the situation of an unexpected level of profit from a business transaction but even the case of an unexpected gift, or a gift that surpasses expectation and which is handled in a manner similar to the reaction of the foolish rich man. With no introspection into who or what could be behind such unexpected harvest, he set out to expend the harvest without thoughts of whether there was a specific purpose for that bountiful harvest or how such harvest can be expended to serve as some form of insurance towards a better future, not only in this realm but in the life after life.
Christians need to understand that the blessing of the Lord is not without purpose. He does not prosper people for themselves alone as there is always a need to be met and all he is doing is channeling resources for that need through the recipient. If he prospered you, especially beyond your expectations, you will also need to seek people after His mind whom He desires to prosper. It does not make any meaning to Him when He prospers you and all you want to do is to put it in a fixed deposit for yourself, for a day in the future that you do not even know whether you will be alive to see. This is not to say that one should not save but not when there is an unexpected harvest. It is definitely for a purpose. The seven years of plenty was not for enjoyment of Pharaoh and his officials but for the extra to be kept to take care of a future period of famine. It could have been fatal starvation, if the Egyptians had not benefited from the wisdom of Joseph – Gen. 41:1-36.
God equally has a reason for that your unusual harvest beyond that your decision to keep it in a barn for yourself and family alone. In such a move, you are not too different from the servant who was given a single Talent and he decided to bury it. Your reason for doing so may not be similar to that of that servant but keeping it in that fixed deposit as wise as it may be to you may be foolishness before Him who probably has a reason for giving it in the first place. Consider an investment that has His approval by seeking His opinion on that unusual harvest as it may not be the type that you can keep in a safe for your personal enjoyment alone, and you may find yourself meeting the prayer request that someone made to Him. That may just be why you harvested more than your expectation. You cannot rest when you have His seed in your hand. Yes! His seed because what you call a bountiful harvest may actually be a seed that He intends to sow into another person’s life or may actually be challenging you to greater planting, if used to achieve His purpose for you on earth. He is expecting it to be planted and not to be stored away for your personal enjoyment in a future that you do not know. Plant it on His choice ground so that it can yield more to His glory. May God grant us the wisdom to see His blessings as a seed to be re-planted and not a harvest to be stored up in a barn, solely for our comfort in Jesus name. Amen.