THE RICH FOOL
PASTOR MARK NOVALÉS
City Reach Church of Philadelphia
The thought originates in every wandering mind as the tempter shows up as if on cue. He craftily depicts what it should look like. The vision he suggests is pleasing and satisfying. It surpasses our worldly expectations and exceeds our earthly dreams. For some temptation looks like a five-bedroom home on four acres of land with a butler, housekeeper, and gardener. For others it sits on four wheels, moves faster than any other, and
attracts every eye. For another, it is in the form of another person who is flawless and stunning. For the rich fool, it was arriving at a place where he could say, “My many possessions have positioned me well for many years of leisure and pleasure.” This place appears to be the pinnacle, yet has been fashioned exclusively for the fool.
Through the parable of the Rich Fool, Jesus aims to teach us that fulfilment doesn’t lie in the things of this world, and that greed, because it is sin, never brings true fulfilment. The rich fool appears to be headed towards abounding satisfaction, but Jesus teaches us that satisfaction is never accomplished through the procurement of temporary possessions.
The movie All the Money in the World describes this for our own culture as the character named Fletcher asks Paul Getty II, “With all due respect, nobody has ever been richer than you. At this point, what would it take for you to be secure?” The actor portraying Mr. Getty has a one-word reply: “MORE.”
Jesus knew that greed is unquenchable. It leads to pain, deception, suspicion, isolation, and eventually death. The rich fool believed in his heart that bigger barns could contain his greed. Sadly, his belief was limited to his own egoism and limited perspective.
The rich fool believed that his plan of acquiring earthly treasures was the remedy. The gospel, in contrast, is about giving things away. Jesus was
all about caring for others first. He lived, breathed, and died in this fashion. He taught us that it is better to give than receive. Jesus’ ability to give himself away is in direct opposition to the rich fool’s idea of obtaining more stuff. The consequences of each approach leaves a distinct example for us to consider and choose.
Thankfully, the gospel goes beyond the limitations of our own self-centeredness and self-absorption. It urges us to give the Holy Spirit breathing room to examine our motives and intentions. The Holy Spirit is capable of reorganizing our thoughts, dreams, and actions if we give him adequate space in our lives.
Rich fools can be found in every tribe, race, and culture. Each of them requires the intervention of the Holy Spirit and the love of God to bring truth and grace to their reality. Let us guard our hearts as we stave off the rich fool in us all and seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.
• What are some of the things you desire? How will they impact your life?
• What things are sitting in your “barn” today that you need to share with others? What keeps you from doing so?
• How can you be more intentional about allowing the Holy Spirit room to transform your philosophy on worldly possessions?