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

I. GODLESSNESS IS FOLLY. The conversation between this man's soul and himself shows the bent and make of his mind. There was no room for God in his plan of life. His godlessness was very bad in him, for he was a successful Jewish farmer. As a Jew, he had drunk in the name of God with his mother's milk. His one book was full of the great name, and every one around him believed in God. The Temple, the Sabbath, and a thousand things besides were always speaking to him of God. But though a Jew, he was a perfect heathen at heart. He did not profess to be an atheist, yet he lived the atheist's life. A thoughtful farmer in Palestine was like the islander who said, "Other people may forget God, but the St. Kilda man never can." In no other country are the crops so plainly in God's hands. The wind, the rain, and the locusts every year make them a success or a failure. His plains waving with God's great bounty should have melted his heart. Strange that to receive a blessing often and regularly makes a man unmindful of God. Every plan of life is folly in which God is not first, midst, and last. Without this, all other wisdom is vain. He only is wise who begins, carries forward, and ends all in and with God.

II. GREED IS FOLLY. This rich farmer was very greedy, and his greed was of the meanest kind, and had no excuse. For he was rich, and growing richer, and embarrassed with riches, and in that genial climate and simple age he needed little money. His was greed without need. He was a mere money-maker, and the clave of the money he possessed. His wealth was like a glacier in midwinter, which feeds no river and gladdens no valley. His soul died of self-love. His in the most perfect and vulgar selfishness, the meanest of all the vices. His greed for money was like the greed of the drunkard, whose drinking puts an end to the drinker, but not to his thirst. Like a wild beast, he will retire into his own corner and gorge himself. All need this warning against greed. But there is a greed which can never grow too great. Every child of the kingdom is a child of boundless desire. "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst." You may pull down the barns of your knowledge and love, and build greater without blame.

III. TO MISTAKE HAPPINESS IS FOLLY. He thought that bigger and fuller barns would make him happy. His full barns were a paradise for mice, but not for men.

1. Length of life cannot be secured by riches. The farmer could lay up goods enough in his barn for many years, but not years enough for the enjoyment of his goods. A French writer says that most successful merchants die about the time when the paint is drying in the splendid villas in which they were hoping to find their ease. Wealth cannot buy an extra hour. "Millions of money for a minute of time," was the vain offer of England's dying Queen. All history shows that men and nations perish from plenty rather than from poverty.

2. A man's happiness, the life of life, does not consist in the abundance of riches. Bigger barns don't give fuller life.

3. The eternal life does not consist in plenty of earthly goods, h golden key cannot open the gate of heaven. The treasures of grace are as free to the beggar as to any man under heaven.

IV. TO FORGET THE FUTURE IS FOLLY. The great Greek writers often picture the rich man. His heart grows haughty and he forgets God. He then becomes an eyesore to heaven; he must be abased; and a certain train is laid for his destruction. At last a thunderbolt, without any sign of its coming, leaps out of the blue sky and strikes him down. Such a fate overtook this poor rich man. He forgot the uncertainty of time and the certainty of eternity. The words, "This night," startle and solemnize us. His soul is required of him as a trust or deposit which he had abused, and it is taken from him by main force. His life was an utter failure. It was like a well-carved stair, "ascending, winding, leading up to nought," and good for nothing. True wisdom takes in the whole of our life in time and eternity. It chooses the life that lives and fashions the everlasting man and woman. As eternity is greater than time, faith is the highest wisdom. How different from this rich man's is the death of one whom Christ has made wise unto salvation, even when the death-sickness comes as suddenly as the summons came to him. A little boy was laid down with cholera. The minister visiting him paused at the cottage door, for he heard the voice of prayer. The dying boy repeated the Lord's Prayer, and then added, "Now I am ready, Lord."

(J. Wells, M. A.)

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.

Christ's Picture of a Worldly Life
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