Wrong Wealth

Then He spoke a parable to them, saying, ‘The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, “What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?” So he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.’”—Luke 12:16-19 (NKJV) 

Parables present a unique challenge because they require a little extra effort in order to understand them. If you just jump right into a parable without having a sense of its context, you’ll probably miss its meaning. Case in point, in the proceeding passage Jesus shares a parable about a rich man who builds bigger barns to accommodate his growing harvest.

In and of itself, this doesn’t seem like a big deal. After all, isn’t it wise to plan ahead and prepare for the future? On the surface, we might commend this character for his foresight and perhaps even want to follow his example. 
But if you back up a bit, you see a principle put forth that sheds a whole new light on the story. Just prior to this parable, a man had come to Jesus begging Him to settle an inheritance dispute. Knowing this man was really motivated by greed, the Lord declines to get involved and goes on to actually warn others gathered around Him against greed and a preoccupation with possessions.
With that backdrop, the parable reads quite differently. This wasn’t an act of wise foresight; it was an act of idolatry to satisfy the god of money that had captured his heart, which is why this man is strongly judged by God as the parable goes on: “But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:20-21 NKJV).

Possessions have the power to possess people. This is what happened with the man who wanted Jesus to mediate his inheritance for him, as well as the rich fool in the parable. Christ is warning us against this very real threat through this story; it serves as a sobering preview of what can happen as we allow our priorities to shift from God toward the enticements of earth. 

The remedy, the only remedy, is not to simply denounce wealth but to be wealthy in the right things . . . the things of God! To invest in God . . . to put Him and His will for our lives before all other areas of our lives. For when we do, our lives consist in a spiritual strength that frees us from being possessed by our possessions.

DIG: What key insight unlocks the meaning of this parable?

DISCOVER: How is your own life framed within this particular parable?

DO: Consider how this parable can change your decision-making process today. Examine your priorities and what you value most and see if it lines up with the principles in this parable.

About the Author

Pastor Dan Hickling

Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.