A Minor Variation on Greed and Abundance

“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’ ‘But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’”

– Luke 12:18-20

I love the parables of Jesus; they are simple and offer us poignant word pictures with which to internalize powerful spiritual principles. Among His teachings about greed and wealth, the Lord gives us the story of a young man who ended up with an abundance of crops. Because his land yielded so much, he didn’t know what to do with all of it, and thinking only about himself and his future, he decided to build a few huge barns in which to stockpile the surplus. Motivated by the thought of not having to work, he figured he would hold onto all that he had and “live it up” for the rest of his time on earth. Sadly for him, in solving that equation, He forgot one very important variable — he was not the decider of his own lifespan. Unfortunately, the end of his days came swiftly after he was classified by the Lord as a fool. And, just as it did then, this story teaches us a powerful lesson about how to treat surplus and abundance in our own lives. 

My friend, the only difference between greed and abundance is giving. There’s nothing wrong with having a great harvest of material wealth, but cultivating the heart of Jesus means that you think more about sharing the treasure than you do about hoarding it. Take care of yourself and your family, but delight in offering the best of your crops to the ones who have never known the same prosperity. As you do this, you develop an inner joy that is unmatched by any possession you can purchase. Though having nice things gives fleeting happiness, sharing the bounteous heart of God with others brings an inner-peace that moves you ahead on the narrow road to abundant life.


I am grateful, Jesus, for the parable of the rich young fool; teach me to hold my abundance loosely and to give unhesitatingly.


Do you identify with the rich young man in this parable? Why or why not?

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