The Rich Fool (Part 1)
In Luke 12, we find Jesus teaching "an innumerable multitude of people". While He was teaching, a man from the crowd interrupted Jesus, wanting Him to settle a dispute over dividing an inheritance. Jesus rebuked the man, and, knowing the hearts of all men (John 2:24,25), He addressed the man's real problem: covetousness. Jesus said: "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses" (Luke 12:15). Jesus then spoke the following parable commonly known as the parable of the rich fool.
"The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?' So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry." ' But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?' So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." (Luke 12:16-21)

Like the man from the crowd, the rich man in Christ's parable had a problem with covetousness. Let us take another look at the parable, considering five points regarding this rich man whom God called a fool. We will examine two points today and the remaining three tomorrow. Starting with verse 16, we find that...

"The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully" (Luke 12:16). Keep in mind friends that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with a person being prosperous. Some of the most obedient and faithful individuals recorded in the Bible were wealthy and blessed with riches by God. Abraham (Gen. 13:2), Job (Job 1:3), and Solomon (I Kings 3:13) are a just a few examples of God's servants who knew wealth. Additionally note the apostle Paul's instructions for the rich in I Timothy 6:17-19. Paul is not instructing the rich to throw away their wealth; rather he tells them "not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches". In verse 10 of that same chapter, Paul also declared to Timothy, "the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil". Paul did not say that money in and of itself is the root of all evil (although some today misquote I Timothy 6:10 in this fashion).

The rich man appeared to be a farmer with wisdom and skill, and apparently his wealth was acquired by farming. On this particular occasion, he seemed to prosper more than usual, and because of this prosperity...

The rich man's problem was that he lacked the proper storage facilities for his abundant harvest. This is a problem most farmers don't mind having! Note what he thought to himself in Luke 12:17: "What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?" The fact that the rich man's prosperity was greater than usual is evident by his declaration that he had no place to store his abundance. This was his problem, but it was a problem he soon solved.

At this point in the parable, it's worth pointing out that the rich man has not demonstrated covetousness nor has he acted foolishly. He is simply a wealthy farmer who has experienced a great harvest and has no place to store all of his crops. Tomorrow, we will continue our study of this parable, placing emphasis on the rich man's proposed solution to his problem, his presumption, and his ultimate lack of preparedness.