The Gospel According to Luke: Part 30 :: By Dr. Donald Whitchard

An Exposition

Luke 12:13-21: “Blessed, Favored, and Condemned”

“And someone in the crowd said to Him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.’ But He said to him, ‘Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbiter over you?’ And He said to them, ‘Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed, for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.’

“And He told them a parable, saying, ‘The land of a certain rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘This is what I will do; I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry.’

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you, and now who will own what you have prepared? So is the man who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God'” (Luke 12:13-21, NASB).

It is all too obvious that there is a plague of ingratitude not just here in America, but is part of a worldwide mindset. The specter of selfishness has made its way into the realm of business, the behavior of families, the actions of unscrupulous leaders, and even within the walls of the church with much of its emphasis not on the welfare of souls through Christ, but having an attitude of entitlement that God has to provide so we can be “blessed and highly favored” and “prosperous.” More and more, fewer people even bother to give God thanks for anything. Nobody seems to remember Him when things appear to be going well, and the world tends to curse Him when everything falls apart. Our country acts like the proverbial spoiled brat when it does not get his or her way, and this attitude towards God’s authority has become entrenched more so in the past couple of years.

Scripture teaches much about this issue, and it especially comes from the teachings of our Lord Jesus. He warns us in a parable about the consequences of receiving a blessing without acknowledging the One who provided it in the first place. It is a vivid word picture about the neglect of what is important in life. It is not what we have but what many do not have as it pertains to the soul. The story opens with the Lord Jesus teaching the people when someone in the crowd interrupts Him by telling Him to settle a family dispute concerning an inheritance. In turn, Jesus rebukes the individual and declares that His mission is not to deal with petty grievances that benefit no one. He then tells a story about someone who thought that he had it made, and all was well, until a certain day arrived. That day is also coming for you, regardless of your circumstances, background, nationality, or status.

Jesus tells the story of a rich man whose crops were overflowing. Surely this was a sign of God’s blessing and favor, but the man did not acknowledge or give thanks to Him. There was no room in his barns in their present condition to hold everything. Surely, he would have thought to share this bounty with his neighbors or those who were hungry and needed help. He could have given a portion to the priests as not just a source of food, but also an offering to the LORD as a way of praising Him for the harvest. Nowhere do you read of any thought of God on the man’s part or any common compassion towards others. It is all about him and his personal well-being. This would prove to be a foolish act that would not end well.

The man decides to build bigger barns to store these crops, as the barns he has now do not have the room or capacity to hold it all. What was he going to do with all that food? He could not eat it all, and there was the probability of much of it going to waste. This was certainly not an act of clear thinking, but it did not seem to cross his mind; and again, there is no mention of him ever stopping to give any gratitude towards the Sovereign LORD, the true producer of the crops. The foolishness just seems to be multiplying, but the man is oblivious to any kind of consequences.

The rich man totals up the goods, congratulates himself on a job well done, and assures himself that he has prepared for any situation that might come, and all will be well. So, he reasons within himself to take it easy, enjoy life, and assure himself that he has it made, and everything is going his way. There is just one little oversight in this drama, and it is God who makes this abundantly and tragically clear. The man has prepared himself for this life but has ignored the life to come. His soul would be required by God, and the man is in no way ready for this moment. He failed to take into consideration that he is not the master of his fate or the captain of his soul, which is true of humanity both then and now. The question is, where is he now in terms of eternity?

Meanwhile, the harvest ends up rotting in the barns, and there is no one to take care of the matter. This was a lot of work for nothing and a waste of time and effort. Things could have been different. There could have been an attitude of thanksgiving, generosity, and gratitude with everyone in the area sharing in the obvious blessing that God had provided, and the probability of a repeat harvest the next season. There is none of that, and so the parable ends on a tragic note. It serves as a warning that material goods and riches mean nothing if one’s heart does not possess the true riches of God, which is forgiveness of sin, a new life, and an eternity in heaven, free from the temptations of this world and the devil.

Trust in Jesus Christ for salvation today, and your true riches will be waiting for you on the other side.