The parable of the rich and prosperous fool was given to rebuke the covetousness of the man who said to the Master, “Speak to my brother that he divide the inheritance with me.” (v.13).
But the Lord could see that under the mask of justice there gleamed the greedy eye.
Who made Me a judge or divider over you ? Take heed and beware of covetousness, for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” (v.15).
This socialistic brother, who wanted the inheritance divided, misunderstood the mission of Christ, who came to save us from our sins. “When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Mk.2:17).
But the time is coming when He will be made both Judge and Divider over all the earth, for He shall judge his people and divide to every man according to his works “ For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (I.Pt.4:17).
Now, turning our attention to the “certain man” referred to in this parables.
Let us Note this man’s prosperous condition. “The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully” (v. 16). He was on the highway to worldly honour and approval. “For men will praise thee when thou does well thyself” according to (Psa. 49: 18).
He was evidently a land proprietor, the ground seemingly belonged to himself. He could pull down his barns at will, without consulting any one “Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be? But it came to pass in the morning, when the wine was gone out of Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone And it came to pass about ten days after, that the LORD smote Nabal, that he died.” (I.Sam.25:11,37,38).
The day of prosperity is perhaps a greater test to a man’s character than the day of adversity.
Let us look at this man’s present dilemma. “He thought within himself, saying, “What shall I do?” (v. 17).
This thought within himself was not hid from Him who is a discerner of the hearts of men “For the word is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb.4:12).
The vision of lavish abundance is before his eyes, the tide of good fortune is coming in like a flood. “What shall I do ? ” He is quite unconscious of the tremendous importance of this crisis.
What he does now will fix and determine his eternal character. Let us also take heed “And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.” (Mt.26:15).
Look at this man’s Settled Purpose. “He said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns and build greater” (v. 18).
The die is cast. He is weighed in the balance and found wanting. “O Belshazzar, Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.’” (Da.5:27).
There is no recognition of God in all his plans, no acknowledgment of His goodness. God is not in all his thoughts.
He has made the greatest miscalculation that any scheming mortal can make in allowing the giver of all no place in his reckoning “Arise, go to Nineveh, But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD,” (Jonah 1:2,3).
We may deliberately vote God out of our lives by our “,This will I do” but every “I will” of self has to do with the “Thou wilt” of God (Acts 9:6).
Note this man’s Self-Congratulation. “And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” (v.19).
This rich pauper’s life was entirely engrossed in his own selfish ease and gratification.
A self- centered life is for ever a lost life. “My’ goods.” 0, soul, be these thy gods ? They will certainly be deaf and dumb to thy cry in a suffering eternity “ And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” (Luke 16: 19-25).
Note what the Lord said to this man “this night thy soul shall be required of thee” (v. 20).
This sudden handwriting of God on the wall of his self satisfied soul was a fearful interruption to his godless plans.
“This night thy soul” shall be require of thee. “ Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? “ (Rom. 6:16).
God does not require such a worldly intoxicated souls in the kingdom of Heaven. “Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches” (Psa. 52: 7).
Covetousness is a kind of folly that makes men foolish in the sight of God. “And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” (Gen.3:9). How will it be when we stand before God in the world to come?
The Lord’s Application.,let us take a close look at it. “ So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (v. 21).
To make it our life’s business to live only for self interest is absolutely unadulterated madness “ This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud,” ( II.Tim.3:1)
Jesus hath brought with in our reach his “unsearchable riches” (Eph. 3:8).
Sell not your soul’s birthright to heavenly and eternal treasure for the “much goods” of this world, which, if you set your heart on them, will, only be to you as Esau’s mess of pottage “Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.” (Heb.12:16).
There is a poverty that maketh rich “As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (II.Cor. 6: 10) and (I.Cor.12:31) say, “Covet earnestly the best gifts”