In Jesus’ story of the Rich Fool, the rich man was not called a fool because he had money. We all know that money is necessary for survival in a society like ours. Without money we could not provide ourselves with adequate food, shelter, transportation, medical care and other necessities of life. The Rich Man in Jesus’ story was called a fool because of the undue fondness he had for his wealth—a fondness which prompted him to hoard his possessions and not use them for good. At the end of his life he had barns full of stuff and no one to enjoy it.
In the economy of Jesus, money serves three purposes. (1) It is to provide for the needs and desires of individuals. (2) It is to provide for the needs of God’s work through the church. (3) And it is to be used to help others who are not able to provide for themselves.
Charles Spurgeon once compared it to a man who traveled to a certain primitive land with the intent of becoming very rich. And he did—in the currency of his new homeland. He accumulated a large store of shells and beads which is what the natives there used for money. In fact, he accumulated more of this kind of wealth than anyone else in the land. Everyone there admired his financial abilities.
But when he returned to his home in England, he discovered that he had nothing. Even though he had a shipload of what had been wealth in his adopted home, those shells and beads were of no value to him back in a world that honored a different type of currency.
Spurgeon says, “So it will be for those who have laid up for themselves the currency of this world….but are not rich towards God.”
The Rich man was foolish because he assumed that all he needed for a contented and joyful life were a lot of nice things and money. He was wrong. A wise person will make sure his or her needs are financially met. Then that person will start laying up the currency of heaven through his or her good deeds of love and compassion. To do so is to be “Rich toward God.”
How are your eternal investments panning out?
Tim Hobbs, Pastor