Vol. 19, No. 19 – May 17, 2020
2. Concerning covetousness, Luke 12:13-34.
Vs. 16-21, The parable of the Rich Fool speaks to the futility of coveting material possessions.
Luke 12:16, “And He told them a parable, saying, ‘The land of a rich man was very productive’.”
Jesus tells the people a parable of a “rich man” PLOUSIOS ANTHROPOS, as an object lesson for how the riches or wealth of this life can often be distracting to one’s relationship with the Lord and lead the owner to being delusional about what truly matters in this life and the one to come, cf. Luke 6:24; 14:12; 16:1; 19-22; 18:23-25; 19:2; 21:1.
“Very productive,” uses the Verb EUPHOREO, εὐφορέω that is only used here in the NT that means, “be fruitful, fertile, producing plenty.” It comes from the prefix EU, “good or well,” and PHERO, “to produce, bring, bear, etc.” The thing that this rich man caused to be very productive was the “land,” CHORA, “land, field, etc.” He was a good farmer and had a very productive crop and or cattle.
Luke 12:17, “And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’”
“Began reasoning to himself,” uses the Imperfect, Middle Deponent, Indicative of the Verb DIALOGIZOMAI with EN HEAUTOU. The Imperfect of DIALOGIZOMAI means incomplete or continuous action of “considering, discussing, or pondering.” In other words, he continuously was pondering his good fortune and wealth. He was continuously occupied with self and his possessions as he uses “I” or “my” 11 times in vs. 17-19. He is concerned only with himself. He has no sense of his responsibility to God or others, nor the reality of death lingering nearby.
When we are continuously occupied with things, we are not occupied with the Lord Jesus Christ, as we should be, and the thing(s) we are occupied with can become an idol in our lives.
Here, he was preoccupied with the abundance of his crops where he had more than he could store up. The word for “store,” is SUNAGO that here means, “to gather together,” and “crops,” is actually the Noun KARPOS that means, “fruit, produce, results, etc.” Unfortunately, this is not the “fruit of the Spirit,” for Divine good production, but his human good works where he had a bumper crop from his farming exploits.
He was so impressed with the crops that his land produced that his thoughts were not to give thanks to God, but rather, “I have more than I can currently store, which is a problem I need to figure out.”
Luke 12:18, “Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods’.”
This is operation human solution. Because this man had an abundance of crops, he decided to tear down his current barns and build bigger ones. Rather, than thanking God for this great bounty and sharing it with others who would have a need, this man thought first and foremost to horde it for himself. Rather than trusting that just as God gave to him this year, He would also be gracious and give to him next year, this man thought to store up all that he was given this year, so he would not have to worry about next year.
Isa 56:12, “Come,” they say, “let us get wine, and let us drink heavily of strong drink; and tomorrow will be like today, only more so.”
The Greek for “tear down,” is Verb KATHAIREO, καθαιρέω in the Future, Active, Indicative that means, “take down, tear down, destroy, or demolish.” The things he would tear down are his current “barns,” APOTHEKE, ἀποθήκη, “barn, storehouse, garner, or granary,” cf. Luke 12:24; Mat 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”
Interestingly, in the NT, KATHAIREO is used nine times. Four of those instances refer to the taking down of the body of Christ from the Cross, Mark 15:36, 46; Luke 23:53; Acts 13:29. As such, this man was not occupied with Christ, but was occupied with his worldly possessions.
Also, three references in the NT, speak to God destroying nations, mighty men, and cults to fulfill His will, Luke 1:52; Acts 13:19; 19:27. This could also include the taking down of pride, arrogance, etc. As such, our Lord was using this rich farmer as an object lesson of pride and arrogance that would be taken down by God, cf. vs. 20.
This word is also used by Paul in 2 Cor 10:5, to exhort believers to cast down “imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.” As such, this man was exalting the works of his hand and trusting in himself rather than giving thanks to God for His provisions and trusting in Him to provide in the future.
In addition, this term is used in Luke 1:52, for God sovereignty and might over the mighty of this world, “He (God) has brought down rulers from their thrones.”
Therefore in our verse, the rich farmer who tore down his barns was acting quite foolishly without regard for His Creator, Provider, and Savior.
So, with his pre-occupation with self, he decided to tear down his smaller storehouses and “build larger ones,” OIKODOMEO MEIZON, so he could “store all his grain and goods,” SUNAGO PAS HO SITOS and KAI HO AGATHOS EGO.
Many times in the NT, AGATHOS is used for “Divine Good,” “The Fruit of the Spirit,” or “good of intrinsic value,” that are rewardable by God in both time and eternity, but here this man thought that his abundance of material possession was his “good things.” As a result of this wrong mental attitude, this good is turned into evil, as it becomes an arrogance of exalting one’s self.
Luke 12:19, “And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry’.”
Notice that this man speaks to his “soul,” PSUCHE, and not to his “spirit.” That indicates that he either does not have a spiritual life or does not care about his spiritual life. He is a PSUCHE man, meaning a worldly man inside of Satan’s cosmic system.
In his self-exaltation, he believes he has “many good things,” POLUS AGATHOS, “laid up for many years,” KEIMAI EIS POLOUS ETOS. KEIMAI is a Verb in the Present, Middle Deponent, Participle that means, “to lie, be laid, recline, set, establish, etc.” Therefore, rather than laying a foundation on his soul that is based on Jesus Christ, 1 Cor 3:11, to produce Divine Good that is rewardable in the eternal state, this man laid the foundation of his soul on his material possessions that will be burnt up one day.
Because of pre-occupation with self, rather than occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ, it led to this man being deluded in the thought that his riches are all that he needs and will save him, as he states, “take your ease, eat, drink and be merry’.”
“Take your ease,” is the Present, Middle Imperative of the Verb ANAPAUO, ἀναπαύω that means, “rest, take one’s rest, give rest, or refresh (someone).” This is the only time Luke uses this word, but others use it in the Gospels and Epistles.
Here, it indicates that this man was thinking about taking an early retirement. He set his sights on retiring early instead of helping a struggling neighbor. He thought only of himself.
In fact, Matthew uses it regarding our Lord’s teaching in Mat 11:28, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Yet, rather than resting in the Lord, this man is resting on the knowledge of his material possessions. As the Word of God tells us, we should always rest in the Lord, so that one day we will rest for all of eternity, Rev 14:13, “And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them”.”
Philemon 1:20, “Yes, brother, let me benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ.”
“Eat, drink, and be merry,” ESTHINO PINO EUPHRAINO, are all in the Aorist, Active, Imperative along with the Present Imperative of ANAPAUO above, to indicate self-mandates. This is the self-deception or deluding of the soul that this man had. He was convincing himself that based on his material possessions, he had nothing to worry about in the future and that all of his needs would be met. He was self-reliant and did not rely upon God, nor give thanks to Him. And rather than rejoicing in God and His logistical grace provisions, this man rejoiced in his materialism.
Luke 12:20, “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’”
Here, we see that God calls this man’s way of thinking foolish by saying “you fool,” APHRON, “foolish, inconsiderate, or rash.” In classical Greek is meant “senseless.” In the OT, it is used in contrast to the person who is wise. The fool is “ignorant” or acts contrary to wisdom, and hates knowledge, but loves haughtiness, Prov 1:22. The fool is also used to refer to the “transgressor,” the one who opposes God and His Law. It is the fool who says in his heart, “There is no God,” Psalm 14:1.
Psa 14:1, “The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good.”
Luke first used APHRON in the NT, in Luke 11:40, “You foolish ones, did not He who made the outside make the inside also?” Cf. Eph 5:17.
Eph 5:17, “So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
Our Lord then states that “this very night your soul is required of you.” Obviously, this means the man was going to die that night, but it also indicates from the word for “required,” APAITEO, an intensification of AITEO, that God is the determiner of the day, time, and manner of one’s death. It indicates that life is a gift from God and that He may choose to require it at any time.
Being a foolish person, he did not give credence to God regarding his life, yet the wise person considers carefully the transitory nature of his earthly life and the sovereignty of God as its giver. Because this man trusted in his earthly possessions as the sustainer of his life, he did not appreciate that it was a gift given by God nor trust in Him for all aspects of it.
Then our Lord speaks to the consequences, “and now who will own what you have prepared?’” The Greek literally states, “And to whom shall it be what you have prepared.”
This man worked hard to produce the bumper crop that supplied him an abundance for his lifetime. Yet, his life is now over and it was all for not, because someone else will benefit by his labor, while he does not. For all his planning, the man failed to plan for the one, universal, 100% certain event each person must face: death. The Lord did not require grain, money, or possessions; He required the man’s soul. And, ironically, others would enjoy the financial bounty of his planned early retirement.
Instead of being occupied with the Lord Jesus Christ and producing Divine Good that is rewardable at the BEMA Seat of Jesus Christ, this man was focused on self and produced materialism that he could not take to the eternal state. As the TV show called “Strange Inheritances” says at the conclusion of each episode, “You can’t take it with you.” Rather than focusing on the treasure of Christ that is everlasting, he focused on the earthly treasure that is but fleeting.
Psa 39:6, “Surely every man walks about as a phantom; surely they make an uproar for nothing; he amasses riches and does not know who will gather them.”
Luke 12:21, “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
Here, our Lord states the stark reality of opportunity lost. This man “stored up treasures for himself,” THERAURIZO HEAUTO. The Verb THERAURIZO, θησαυρίζω means, “gather, store up or reserve.” In classical Greek, it also meant, “to keep or hoard.” Therefore, if we do not store up the treasure that is founded in God because we are preoccupied with the materialism of this world, we will find misery and suffer loss in the eternal state, James 5:1-3; Rev 3:17.
James 5:1-3, “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. 2Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. 3Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!”
Rev 3:17, “Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”
Here, the rich “heaped” or “hoarded” wealth thinking it would bring them security and peace in the “last days;” instead it brought them misery. The implication is that their misery is brought upon by God’s judgment, and the one who “lays up” material things has eternal consequences, because he “is not rich toward God,” ME PLOUTEO EIS THEOS.
“Rich,” is the Verb PLOUTEO πλουτέω that means, “to be rich, wealthy.” In the 12 instances it is used in the NT, many times it has a figurative meaning, frequently suggesting spiritual liberality or fullness, cf. 1 Cor 4:8.
1 Cor 4:8, “You are already filled, you have already become rich, you have become kings without us; and indeed, I wish that you had become kings so that we also might reign with you.”
Yet, in our verse, this man was “not,” ME, rich towards God. He was so concerned with his earthly riches that he ignored God. Therefore the principle is, only by “laying up” treasures in heaven will the believer be rewarded by the Father, Mat 6:20.
Mat 6:20-21, “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Mat 12:35, “The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil.”
Mat 13:44, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
Rom 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
Mat 19:21, “Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me”.”
2 Cor 4:7, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.”
In 1 Tim 6:19, God exhorts us to, “Store up for ourselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that we may take hold of that which is life indeed.”
Therefore, this key question of the parable makes a few points. All the effort to build a self-focused life does us no good in eternity when God calls us to account. The person who will not own what he or she has built up is the fool who incorrectly thought it was his or hers all along. So, the exhortation is to be rich toward God, perhaps even to give to God the same kind of attention this man gave to his possessions.
Psalm 49:16-20, “Be not afraid when a man becomes rich, when the glory of his house increases. 17For when he dies he will carry nothing away; his glory will not go down after him. 18For though, while he lives, he counts himself blessed —and though you get praise when you do well for yourself— 19his soul will go to the generation of his fathers, who will never again see light. 20Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish.”
1 Tim 6:17, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.” So the question is, are you going to live life for yourself or toward God? A life directed toward God is likewise a life led by the Holy Spirit and spiritual motivation. This God-centered life is contrary to the life lived “for self,” which panders after material wealth and possessions, and is in fact lived in bondage to wealth, Luke 16:13. Therefore, this parable confronts us with the claim of exclusive loyalty either to God or to self.
“The man had stored up treasure for himself, which robbed him of a rich relationship with God. Clearly, there is a conflict between self-interest and dependence on God. If one looks to earthly treasure for security, sustenance, or significance, one will not seek satisfaction from God. And, according to this parable, it’s dangerous to seek security in anything but the Lord. Consequently, it can be said that a person is not ready to live until they’re ready to die.” (Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary – Luke.)
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life.
So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!