The Rich Fool

August 4, 2019


This morning we have a word from Jesus that for us, especially in this day and age, can be hard to hear.  Jesus says, “Take Care!  Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”

“Greed” and “the abundance of possessions” are words, that when spoken in this way are instantly convicting of my life.  You may ask, “Pastor Joel, are you saying that you’re greedy?  Are you saying that you have too many things?”

Yep!  That’s what I am saying.  And I will even boldly declare this, even when placed in relation to Bill Gates, Olav Thon or some Emir from Dubai.  For greed can and does affect everyone no matter how much they have, for greed has to do with want and desire.

But I am not saying that I am greedy in all things, I could have a parade of people walking up to me all day long offering free gold watches and Gucci shoes and I wouldn’t be tempted in the least.  But conversely, if they were giving away canoe paddles or books on the history of World War II, I would quickly be building some shelves to store all of my new stuff!

And so, my life would consist even more in the abundance of my possessions.  By the way, Amazon and the internet is not very helpful in regard to a person’s battle with either greed or the greater abundance of one’s possessions.

I think we all know what the triggers are for greed in our own lives and how the abundance of our possessions, especially certain possessions can become destructive in our lives.

So at this point the question that we need to ask is, “Why are greed and the abundance of possessions destructive to our lives?”

Why does Jesus share the story of the ‘rich fool?’

Well, for starters let’s look at who we are and how we approach life.  God has created us as multi-faceted, holistic persons made up of the physical, emotional and spiritual.  We live and experience life on all three levels, often simultaneously.  It’s the physical, what we can see, hear, touch, taste and smell that is the door to experiencing the emotional and spiritual.  So, it’s the physical realm through which we try to meet most of our needs.

How many of you eat when feeling depressed?  Or on the contrary, don’t eat when feeling out of control?  How many of you go shopping when you’re lonely, or perhaps when you are feeling that everything’s going exactly right for you?  Now, I am not only talking to the women about shopping, but men ‘Maxbo’ and ‘Golf Galaxy’ are places to shop too!  How many of you are collectors?  People who are trying to collect the whole ‘set’ or get all things pertaining to your particular interest, let’s say Manchester United gear or unique teaspoons from every city you visit?  Or maybe, you seek exciting new experiences to shake off a sense of apathy towards life?  Or perhaps you seek meaning in trying other religions or ways of belief to try and conquer the meaninglessness of life.

If you’ve answered yes to any of the previous questions, does this mean you’re greedy?  Yeah, you’re greedy and you’re human.  You’re greedy for fulfillment in life.

You see, we all want to be fulfilled, in any number of ways.  We want emotional, spiritual as well as physical fulfillment, and in our quest we become greedy to find that fulfillment.  Be it emotional, spiritual or physical fulfillment we end up pursuing fulfillment through the accumulation or concentration upon things, or awards, or accolades or experiences or power or money or even…relationships.  You see as humans we search for the fulfillment that we need, in any and every way.  And yet, as the writer of Ecclesiastes wrote almost three-thousand years ago, “I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun; and see, all is vanity and a chasing after the wind.”

Everything human is so fleeting, so temporal, so momentary in the march of time that in the end our pursuit of fulfillment feels as if we are chasing the wind, pursuing the unseen, so as to catch the uncatchable.

One of my favorite singers, now deceased, a Christian named Larry Norman, has a song that is sung from the perspective of a human searching for fulfillment on earth and not finding it.  I want to share the words of the last two verses with you.  He sings,

“If I could find someone who’d really love me right, they’d make my life complete they’d make my soul shine bright, I’ve looked around the world, I’ve walked down every street, still I can’t find no one to give me what I need.”

“Who can I turn to, is there anybody there, doesn’t anybody listen, doesn’t anybody care?”


This is what Jesus is warning us about in the parable of the ‘rich fool.’  We will never find true fulfillment in the solely human world of the physical and emotional, be it the accumulation of things, experiences or relationships it will always in the end leave us empty.

So, what do we do?

Paul answers our question in the first verses of the Colossians reading, listen.  “So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth…”

Jesus came to earth and died to set us free, taking our sins, our mistakes our failings with him into death.  So, in essence Paul writes that we have died along with Jesus and then subsequently are raised along with him to new life.  This new life, given in God’s love, is the gift that can never be earned, only received.  This gift of life, eternal life that we don’t deserve, but are given anyway is the answer to the questions being asked in the song by Larry Norman.  “Who can I turn to, is there anybody there, doesn’t anybody listen, doesn’t anybody care?”

Jesus is the answer, because Jesus loves us, each one of us for who we are.  Life lived in the love of Jesus, in constant and growing relationship with him, is the fulfillment that we seek and yearn for so badly.

In the end, nothing here on earth is going to do it for us, we have to, we need to know ultimate acceptance and love for who we are, to realize fulfillment.  And that ultimate acceptance and love can only come from one source.

It can only come from the One who created us, lovingly and for good.  It can only come from the One who has given us the greatest gift because of the same love.  It can only come from the One who walks with us through life, offering us the support in that same love, no matter if it’s our darkest day, or our brightest hour.

Ultimate acceptance and love, for you, and you, and you, and me, can only come from the Ultimate, from God.

Open your eyes, open your heart to receive the Love of the Lord, today and every day.  For every moment, of every day, Jesus is giving you all you need, himself.  We get wrapped up, we get greedy of our desires, of our dreams, forgetting that Gods’ desires and dreams for us, are so much more grand and more wonderful.  Each day, seek out he, who is above, he whose love is for you.  Seek, and find the one who is the fulfillment of all of our desires!


Bible References

  • Colossians 3:1 - 11
  • Luke 12:13 - 21



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