Lessons from Rich Fool

“But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (Luke 12:20)

This sobering verse gives, in a nutshell, God’s evaluation of people whose dominating concern is the accumulation of material possessions. Such a person is, by the Lord’s own testimony, a fool.

But before the man in this parable became a covetous fool, he first became a self-centered clod, interested only in his own desires. In the verses comprising his monologue (Luke 12:17-19), he used the personal pronouns “I” and “my” no less than 11 times, and then even addressed himself using the pronoun “thou” or “thine” twice more.

“My” is the devil’s pronoun. It was Satan who first said “I.” “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: . . . I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14). Lucifer’s primeval, self-seeking covetousness brought rebellion and sin into the angelic host, and then into the human family. Ever since his fall, he has used this deadly sin of self-centeredness to keep men away from God and to lead them into all kinds of other overpowering sins.

In the case of the rich man, his pampering of self had led him into a life of such greed and covetousness that he was still concerned only with his own personal comfort (“eating and drinking”) right up to the day of his death. He “thought within himself” (Luke 12:17), giving no thought whatever to God’s will or the fact that all his possessions really belonged to God. Multitudes over the ages have been overtaken by this same sin of self-centered covetousness, perhaps never more pervasively than in modern America, even among American Christians. To anyone of such covetous spirit, the day may soon come when the Lord will say: “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee.” HMM

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