A Foolish Man and a Man of God

Recently I heard some ministry on a certain parable in Luke that depicts a man whom God calls foolish. Was this man’s SAT score well below average? No. It wasn’t that he flunked out of school – he actually did well for himself. In fact,  some might describe him in two words: rich and lucky.

” And He told them a parable, saying, The land of a certain rich man brought forth abundantly.” -Luke 12:16 RcV

I would briefly summarize the parable in this way: This man, seeing his great crop and his inadequate storage space, decided to tear down his barns and build bigger ones. Then he uttered to himself this revealing statement:

Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; rest, eat, drink, be merry.

But God intervened with distressing news.

Foolish one, this night they are requiring your soul from you; and the things which you have prepared, whose will they be? So is he who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God. Luke 12:20-21

In 1 Timothy 6 Paul teaches concerning the rich in a way that addresses the man in the parable, namely:

Charge those who are rich in the present age not to be high-minded, nor to set their hope on the uncertainty of riches but on God, who affords us all things richly for our enjoyment; To do good, to be rich in good works, to be ready to distribute, to be ones willing to share; Laying away for themselves a good foundation as a treasure for the future, that they may lay hold on that which is really life. 1 Tim. 6:17-19

I think that Paul says the same thing as the Lord Jesus implied to the crowds in Luke 12. Both warn of misaiming in life, of foolishly trusting in material riches while not heeding one’s relationship with God. The warnings are universal, pertaining to this life and the next and focusing on creature/Creator relations.

At this point the Lord Jesus turned to His disciples (Luke 12:20) and taught them, pointedly, not to be anxious for their life, for God would clothe them, knowing their physical necessities. He then advances from Creator to Father, charging them not to be afraid  for their Father was well-pleased to give them the kingdom. He instructs rather to seek the kingdom and to make purses which do not become old, an unfailing treasure in the heavens, where thief does not come near, nor even moth corrupts.

Likewise, in Paul’s teaching in 1 Timothy 6, at a certain point Paul turns to his disciple, Timothy, and teaches him personally as did the Lord with his disciples. The public parable and charge are warning driven and objective. The private instruction to the disciple is positive, full of hope, and closer to God:

But you, O man of God, flee these things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, meekness. Fight the good fight of the faith; lay hold on the eternal life, to which you were called and have confessed the good confession before many witnesses. 1 Tim 6:11-12

His instructions excel those to “the rich in the present age”; he here speaks of righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance – terms associated with the kingdom of the heavens (Romans 14:17, Revelation 1:9) . He ends Timothy’s portion by exhorting him to keep his word spotless until the appearing of the Lord Jesus, sweetly referring him to their common Lord as their excelling portion.

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