And he spoke a parable to them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:…
Do you take notice how in the light of imagination are contrasted here a man's convictions and thoughts respecting himself, and God's thoughts about him? Was there a single man that lived within a day's journey of this man that did not praise him? Was this man's name ever mentioned in all the region round about but that men said, "Ah! one of the richest and most honourable men in the community"? When men wore speaking of prosperity and thrift, was not he spoken of? Were there not pleasing titles addressed to him when men would gain his friendship? Did not the man weave his own title out of these expressions of men's thoughts respecting him? If you had asked him, What is thy name? he would have said, My name is The rich man. What is thy name? Prince among my fellows. What is thy name? The abounding man; The prosperous man; The eminent man; The great man of the neighbourhood; The much-talked-of man. What is his name, O Lord? Fool. He knew every name but the right one. The probability is that no man had ever addressed him by his true title. He had been called by the name of his childhood; but that was not his name. He had been called by names bred of wealth; but these were not his names. He had been called by names that came from men's flatteries; but these were not his true names. When God spoke to him out of eternal truth, He said to him, "Thou fool!" and that was his name. It is very strange that a man should live to be forty or fifty years of age and not know his own name. Oh, how many there are in this congregation who have not the slightest conception of their nature and name. If I were to call out, "Fool, come hither," who of you would stir? But when God comes to call men, by-and-bye, with that irresistible voice, "Fool," oh, my soul, is it thou that then wilt be obliged to hear and answer? Are there not many of you that walk in honour, and are girded about with praise, who, if God were to launch your title through the air and fix it quivering in you, would be obliged hereafter, by this strange baptism of God, to wear the name "Fool"? What a contrast there was between the apparent and the real position in which this man stood! We read in the Bible of men's walking in a vain show. We read the exclamation of him of old, "How are they cast down, as in a moment I" Here was a man in the very focus of prosperity, and yet he stood within a hand's-breadth of his own grave. He seemed to defend himself from the intrusion of misfortune, and yet he was soon to be cast down. He had all that men usually covet. He had wrapped himself round and round with many coverings of wool, and silk, and fine linen, and supplied himself with abundant stores of things pleasant to the eye, and of things pleasant to the palate, and was honoured and respected; and now, having accomplished the purposes of his life, he began to lay himself back, as it were, and say to himself, "Now the toil is over; now the accomplishment is reached; now take thine ease." And what sort of an ease was it? "Eat, drink, and be merry." Self-indulgence and lust, which is the end and outcome of very much of the prosperity of this world. Self-indulgent pampering, selfish luxury — this was it. And he seemed to himself, he seemed to men, to have reached the very climax at the very moment the hand of God was extended to smite him down utterly and for ever.
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: