The Parable of the Rich Fool
by Sarah Klotz
At the beginning of this year, we watched a popular show on Netflix called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. A great show for a new year - clean out the things you don’t need, keep the things you do. We followed her advice by dividing up our possessions into categories, putting them in piles and going through them one by one, asking the question, “Does this give me joy?”
Jesus regularly addressed how we are to live in view of our possessions. In Luke 9, he commissioned the Twelve telling them to “take nothing for the road, no traveling bag, no bread, no money and don’t take an extra shirt.” (9:3 CSB) He regularly said that we must let go of our earthly things and follow him. Through my purging, I have realized that when I am clinging to my possessions too tightly, they are binding me to the past in a way that needs releasing; giving me a sense of identity in the present, and providing me with a false sense of security for the future.
As I went through many of the things from the past that were collecting dust, it became a process of letting go. John Piper wrote, “Occasionally, weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have.”
Jesus said, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (vs. 15) I struggle with how to live dependent on possessions or money for our needs yet not bound or consumed by them. Paul Tripp describes a woman in his book Suffering, “It was the good life, not the gospel, that got her up every morning.” Too often it is “the good life” or hope of one that gets me up in the morning rather than storing up my treasure in heaven.
There is such wisdom in being a good steward of what we have and saving for the future. However, in this passage, Jesus is very clear about the man who stores his grain and goods for many years. He calls him a fool! An unwise, imprudent, buffoon, simpleton. But the worst description is, “The one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God. (vs. 21)” We are fools if our security is held in our finances or the status of our things. We forfeit a deeper relationship with God and the fruit that comes from “waiting” on Him when we lay up treasures for ourselves. Jesus calls us out into deep waters of dependence. I am encouraged by Paul’s words to Timothy (read them here), and they remind me to cling solely to God in light of my past, for my present, and for my future – to “take hold of that which is truly life.”
Father, you are Jehovah Jireh - The God who provides all that we need. You provide for all of our spiritual, emotional, relational and physical needs. You know what they are before we are in want of them. Forgive us for clinging to our possessions and trying to fill ourselves up or find our security with things or money. Help us to find our treasure in you and deepen our faith as we wait on you to provide.
Sarah Sagely Klotz is a wife and a mother of three boys and one busy little girl. Originally from Arkansas, she has lived and attended the Falls Church Anglican for the past 12 years. Apart from her family, her greatest joys are Thursday morning bible study, BBC dramas/mysteries, trips to the beach or Shenandoah valley and date nights with Brian.