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The Parable of the Rich Fool

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” 14But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” 16Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ 18Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”


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Lu 12:13-53. CovetousnessWatchfulnessSuperiority to Earthly Ties.

13. Master, &c.—that is, "Great Preacher of righteousness, help; there is need of Thee in this rapacious world; here am I the victim of injustice, and that from my own brother, who withholds from me my rightful share of the inheritance that has fallen to us." In this most inopportune intrusion upon the solemnities of our Lord's teaching, there is a mixture of the absurd and the irreverent, the one, however, occasioning the other. The man had not the least idea that his case was not of as urgent a nature, and as worthy the attention of our Lord, as anything else He could deal with.

14. Man, &c.—Contrast this style of address with "my friends," (Lu 12:4).

who, &c.—a question literally repudiating the office which Moses assumed (Ex 2:14). The influence of religious teachers in the external relations of life has ever been immense, when only the INDIRECT effect of their teaching; but whenever they intermeddle DIRECTLY with secular and political matters, the spell of that influence is broken.

15. unto them—the multitude around Him (Lu 12:1).

of covetousness—The best copies have "all," that is, "every kind of covetousness"; because as this was one of the more plausible forms of it, so He would strike at once at the root of the evil.

a man's life, &c.—a singularly weighty maxim, and not less so because its meaning and its truth are equally evident.

16-19. a certain rich man, &c.—Why is this man called a "fool?" (Lu 12:20) (1) Because he deemed a life of secure and abundant earthly enjoyment the summit of human felicity. (2) Because, possessing the means of this, through prosperity in his calling, he flattered himself that he had a long lease of such enjoyment, and nothing to do but give himself up to it. Nothing else is laid to his charge.

20, 21. this night, &c.—This sudden cutting short of his career is designed to express not only the folly of building securely upon the future, but of throwing one's whole soul into what may at any moment be gone. "Thy soul shall be required of thee" is put in opposition to his own treatment of it, "I will say to my soul, Soul," &c.

whose shall those things be, &c.—Compare Ps 39:6, "He heapeth up riches and knoweth not who shall gather them."

21. So is he, &c.—Such is a picture of his folly here, and of its awful issue.

and is not rich toward God—lives to amass and enjoy riches which terminate on self, but as to the riches of God's favor, which is life (Ps 30:5), of "precious" faith (2Pe 1:1; Jas 2:5), of good works (1Ti 6:18), of wisdom which is better than rubies (Pr 8:11)—lives and dies a beggar!




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