Rich Towards God
And [Jesus] told them a parable, saying, ‘The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, “What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?” And he said, “I will do this: 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 ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’” But God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich towards God.’ (Luke 12:16-21)
Jesus doesn’t mince His words in this parable: the man who gathers wealth expecting to ‘relax, eat, drink, and be merry’ – to spend the coming days enjoying all that he has accumulated – is a fool. This judgement is pronounced by none other than God! The man is foolish because he is, in the midst of greedily increasing his possessions, pitifully unaware that he would soon lose them all with his imminent death.
The present crisis has forced us to face the reality of the transience of earthly wealth. Jobs have been lost. Earnings have been cut. Seemingly secure investments have lost their value in the blink of an eye. Many who were expecting to ‘relax, eat, drink, and be merry’ have seen their dreams evaporate. As painful as this experience has been, it has helpfully reminded us how foolish it is to place our trust in the accumulation of worldly possessions.
With restrictions being progressively lifted, we are gradually returning to some sense of normalcy (or, as we keep hearing, the ‘new normal’). As our situation improves, we would be fools if we were to quickly forget the lessons we have learned through this crisis. Jesus urges us not to lay up treasures for ourselves, and instead to be rich towards God. That is the way of wisdom.
Rev. Christopher Chan