The Folly of Worldly Men
Luke 12:16-21
And he spoke a parable to them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:…


1. The things which they refuse are of inconceivable value, the very best things of heaven and earth; things did I say? consider what is comprehended in them, viz., God the chief good to be their God, and Jesus Christ; they refuse Him, an interest in Him; they see nothing in Him to desire Him; and now doth not this show them fools? They know not what is good, know not how to choose, they discern not a precious pearl from a worthless pebble.

2. They refuse incorruptible things, such riches that are durable treasure that neither moth nor rust can corrupt.

3. They refuse (though they are ready to perish with hunger) that which is bread, nay, Bread of Life, most rare, sweet, delicious, and soul-nourishing, fattening and satisfying Bread, and all else that is good and proper food for their souls; which except they eat of they must die and perish for ever; and doth not this show they are fools?

4. They count those things not worth one serious thought or regard, which all that were truly wise esteemed above all the treasures, riches, and glory of the whole world; nay, more worth than ten thousand worlds.Secondly, Let us consider what things they are which worldly men choose, and the nature of them, instead of those things, or before those things which they refuse.

1. They choose things unlawful, or such things that are forbidden, and in their choice inner the wrath and displeasure of God, and are thereby proclaimed enemies and rebels, and such that God's soul abhors, for by an inordinate love of riches they are idolators: and the covetous God abhorreth.

2. They choose such things that are the portion of reprobates. My brethren, God gives the riches of this world to his enemies, and to such who have their portion in this life, to whom He denies His choicest and chiefest blessings and favours.

3. They are corruptible things, things which perish in the using, things also that are uncertain.

4. They choose the riches, pleasures, and grandeur of this world, which ruin the souls of all trust in them, or set their hearts upon them. The world, in its riches, is a cruel enemy to poor mortals, and such who over-prize them do but hug a viper or serpent in their bosoms, and is not this one article of our faith that the world has well as the flesh and the devil is a mortal enemy to the soul? What, harbour a thief, a treacherous and cruel murderer, in our house, who will soon, if not overcome, lay all the family in their blood, and dead at his foot! what folly greater than this! Ah! how many thousands are now in hell, that the love of this world sent thither, or brought eternal ruin upon.

5. The things wicked rich men choose are but mere vanity or a shadow. "Vanity of vanity, all things are vanity" (Ecclesiastes 1:2); not vain, but vanity in the abstract, the worst of vanities, and therefore no folly greater than to esteem the riches of this world as a man's best and chiefest happiness; they weary themselves for very vanity; should you see a man pursue, or run after, and strive to catch or take hold of a shadow, would you not say he was a lunatic, or a natural, or mere fool? Such fools are the rich men of this world. Moreover, empty things that cannot satisfy, gold and silver can satisfy no man: "He that coveteth silver shall not be satisfied with silver, nor he that loveth abundance with increase, this is also vanity" (Ecclesiastes 5:10). This shows his folly; he hath abundance, and yet desires more as if he had nothing, and is never content and satisfied with what he hath, and yet counts these things the best of all good; which shows he is a fool.

6. The love of riches is the root of all evil; and such " that will be rich fall into temptations and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition" (1 Timothy 6:9). Now if such are the nature and dreadful effects that attend riches, what fools are they that set their hearts upon them! They do but "heap up treasure against the last day" (James 5:3), or treasure up wrath and Divine vengeance.

(B. Keach.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:

WEB: He spoke a parable to them, saying, "The ground of a certain rich man brought forth abundantly.

The Folly of the Worldly Man
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