And he spoke a parable to them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:…
I. The folly of this man appears m the fact that HE COMPLETELY IGNORED HIS RESPONSIBILITY TO GOD IN THE MATTER OF HIS POSSESSIONS.
1. He speaks throughout as if he had all the merit of his prosperity, and gives God no praise; while the idea that any portion of the increase of his fields belonged to God seems never to have entered into his mind. But does this man stand alone in this particular? Are we not all too prone to take to ourselves the sole credit for any prosperity we have acquired, or for any eminence we have reached?
2. The destriction to himself of the honour of his success led directly to the complete appropriation by this man of its fruits. He never thought of consulting God about the disposal of his property. And there are multitudes among us, who never pray to God about their business at all. Some may pray that He would send them prosperity; but when the prosperity comes, how few there are, comparatively speaking, who lay their wealth at His feet, and ask Him to direct them in disposing of it!
II. The folly of this man appears in the fact that HE IGNORES THE CLAIMS OF OTHER MEN UPON HIM FOR HIS HELP. He had no idea, apparently, that there was any other possible way of bestowing his goods than by storing them in his barns. As has replied to his soliloquy: "Thou hast barns, the bosoms of the needy, the houses of widows, the mouths of orphans and of infants"; these are the true storehouses for surplus wealth. It is right to provide for those who are dependent upon us; it is prudent to lay up something in store against a possible evil day; but after that, the storehouse of wealth should be benevolence. I have somewhere read that a lady once went to call upon a friend near the close of autumn, and found her emptying her closets, and exclaiming, "Oh, these moths! these moths! that have consumed almost everything that I laid away in the beginning of the summer." The visitor expressed her sorrow, but said she did not know what it was to have a garment moth-eaten. Whereupon her friend asked for the specific which she used, and to her surprise received for answer, "I gave away to the poor, months ago, all the garments for which I had no longer use; and there was no difficulty in preserving the remainder from the moths."
III. The folly of this man is seen in the fact that HE IMAGINED THAT MATERIAL THINGS WERE PROPER FOOD FOR HIS SOUL. True riches — or, in other words, the true food of the soul, by which alone it can be nourished and satisfied — are to be found in God alone. Reconciliation to God, peace with God, likeness to God, and fellowship with God, that alone can fill the heart of man. God for us in the work of His Son, God with us in the orderings of His providence, God in us in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and God before us in the hope of heaven, that is the true food of the spirit of man; and to think of sustaining it with material fruits and goods and possessions, is as absurd as it would be to try to satisfy the hunger of the body with a diamond, or to quench the thirst of the body with a pearl.
IV. The folly of this rich man is apparent from the fact that HE HAD ENTIRELY IGNORED THE TRUTH THAT HIS MATERIAL POSSESSIONS WERE NOT TO BE HIS FOR EVER. "There are no pockets in a shroud." "How much did he leave?" asked one man of another, in the street-car, as they were talking of a millionaire whose death had been announced in the morning paper. "All he had," was the solemn and suggestive reply.
(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: