Proper 13 — Luke 12:13-21
A rich farmer decided to tear down his old buildings and build bigger ones to accommodate his anticipated great harvest. Then
he would eat, drink and be merry. God called the farmer a fool and suddenly required his soul from him before he could enjoy his riches.
1. Jesus Asks a Question (vv. 13-14)
The parable in this passage was prompted by a rude interruption of Jesus as He was teaching a large multitude of people (see v.
12:1). The interlocutor asked Him to intervene in an inheritance dispute, blaming his brother for the problem.
Vance Havner tells a story about a man who went to a psychiatrist with a fried egg on top of his head and a strip of bacon hanging from each ear. He said, “Sir, I’ve come to see you about my brother.” He was the one who needed help! That’s the way this man in the Scripture passage was.
Jesus asked him: “Who do you think has made me a judge or a divider over you? I have not come to be a financial planner. I’ve not come to settle the estate of people who die.”
2. Jesus Issues a Warning (v. 15)
He said, “Take heed and beware.” Those words are like two flashing signs in front of a bridge that has been washed out. Take
heed is a word of caution, an exhortation of warning. Jesus didn’t just say, “Take heed,” but He added, “Beware,” which literally
means, “Look out.” “Beware,” Jesus said, “of covetousness,” which means “an inordinate desire for more.” It is a picture of people who are never satisfied with anything. They always want more. It means to be greedy. Jesus said, “Beware, take heed of greed, of covetousness, of a desire for more.”
3. Jesus Speaks a Parable (vv. 16-21)
The interrupter needed to realize that his was not a legal problem but a spiritual one.Things, possessions are neither moral nor
immoral. It’s impossible for an automobile or a television set or a bank account to have morality. Only people have morality. It is our attitude about things that can be moral or immoral. In this parable Jesus posits some very important truths.
A. The Deceptiveness of Life (v. 16)
Jesus said, “Life does not exist, life is not made up, life does not hold together, life does not consist on the abundance of things that a person can collect.” “Land” or “ground” in this verse translates chora, meaning region or country. He had a whole country to himself, a lordship of his own; he was a little prince. He had a great deal of ground, and his ground was fruitful. How much is enough for this person? Always a little more.
B. The Determination of Death
1. Cannot Be Deterred by Our Problems (v. 17)
Despite the problem of having goods and crops lying waste without barns large enough to store them, death still visited this man’s house. The grim reaper does not wait until all our problems are resolved.
2.Cannot Be Deterred by Our Plenty (vv. 19-20)
One of the richest men who ever lived in America was Sam Walton, who founded Wal-Mart and became a billionaire. For many years, he was the richest man in America. Yet with all of his wealth, he could not stop death from coming into his house and claiming his life. Death is not deterred by our plenty.
3. Cannot Be Deterred by Our Plans (v. 18)
This man said, “I’m going to sit back, eat, drink and be merry. I have enough goods. I don’t have to work again. I don’t have to
punch a clock any more. I don’t have to worry about what the stock market is going to do. I am independent and financially free. I’ve got enough to live it up for years to come.” God replied: “Thou fool.” It’s a serious thing when God calls somebody a fool.
This man said, “I’m going to live it up.” He was expecting a future. He was expecting fun. He was expecting a life of luxury and
ease. He was not expecting to give an account to God, especially not that night. The unexpected day came when a fool met God.