There are many couples who are working long hours and even two jobs in order to buy a bigger house, get a bigger promotion and have a bigger retirement. While doing this they are enjoying very little quality time in the family. But there are other couples who have a higher priority for their families, and are enjoying much love, joy and peace.
A man in the crowd approached Jesus with a request: “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me” (Lk. 12:13 NKJV). The Lord pointed out that the heart of their problem was a problem of the heart – covetousness. He warned the two brothers: “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Lk.12:15). Covetousness is an insatiable lust for material possessions – enough is never enough.
He revealed this family’s problem to him and his brother, and then told them the parable of the rich fool. The pitfalls in this parable can affect any family. They include false wealth, self-occupation, self-sufficiency and false security.
The rich fool said, “I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there will I store all my crops and my goods” (Lk. 12:18). This man left God out of his life and plans. There is nothing wrong with providing for one’s family. Paul wrote: “If anyone does not provide for his own, especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8). Jesus was not wasteful and careless. He said to His disciples: “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost” (Jn. 6:12). We must manage our money and resources wisely, and not allow them to manage us.
The rich fool was obsessed with a selfish party of three – “I, myself, and me.” He had serious “I” trouble as evidenced by the following: “He thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do … I have no room … I will do this … I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods’” (Lk. 12:17-18). When self is enthroned instead of Christ, we make the mistake of worshiping wealth, and become driven by the possession of power and the pursuit of pleasure.
The rich fool thought that he had enough for retirement and did not need any one, not even God. “So he said … I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry’” (Lk. 12:18-19). Man’s sufficiency is really insufficiency, but Christ’s sufficiency is all-sufficiency.
This man mistook his bigger barns for God’s will; he mistook his body for his soul; and he mistook time for eternity. And God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul will be required; then whose will those things be which you have provided?” (Lk.12:20). Materialism never gives inward peace nor outward security. This man’s tragedy was not so much what he was leaving behind, but what was ahead for him – eternity without God.
From this parable of the rich fool are three suggestions for building a better family:
1. Acknowledge God and family as higher priorities than goods and wealth. “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim. 6:6).
2. Begin to enjoy and use what God has given your family for His glory instead of worrying about what is lacking. “Rejoice in the Lord … Let your gentleness be known … Be anxious for nothing … with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God … and the peace of God … will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:4-7).
3. Confidently rest on the secure foundation of Christ which is deep, dependable and durable (Ps. 127:1-2; Lk. 6:47-48). As a family continue to grow in your devotion to the Lord, and dedication in serving Him and each other.
By Emanual V. John
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org