Monday, April 21, 2008

The Sad Estate of the Selfish Man

"I will build me bigger barns!" (Luke 12:18).

In the parable of the Rich Fool, Jesus shows us that one's life does not consist of the things he possesses, and He warns us against one of the most insidious evils in the human heart -- covetousness. "I have seen a grievous evil under the sun," wrote Solomon, "wealth hoarded to the harm of its owner." The Rich Fool was doing just that -- hoarding his riches, and harming himself. This is the sad estate of the selfish man.

The Rich Fool ascribes the increase of his substance to himself, and deems them to be his own acquisitions, the results of his own diligence and efforts. His bigger barns would serve not only to hold his larger harvest, but also stand as a towering boast to his neighbors of just how successful he had become. Or so he thought. For that night an angel visited him and said, "You fool! This night shall your soul be required of thee; and now what shall become of all these things you have stored up?"

Jesus then delivered the punch line, "So it is with those who lay up treasures for themselves -- and are not rich toward God." The point for us is that as God blesses our lives, and increases our estate, we should always seek to honor Him by being generous with that which He has entrusted to us. If we will do so, our blessing will abound. On the other hand, only shame awaits the selfish.

Sir Walter Scott, the prolific poet of the Highlands, summed it up best in this timeless lyric --
"High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish could claim;
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch concentered all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And doubly dying shall go down
To the vile dust from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonor’d and unsung."

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