The Rich Farmer

Luke 12:16-21  And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17  And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18  And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19  And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20  But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21  So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.


I.    The setting.

A.  Luke 12:1-12

1.   Verse 1 - There was an innumerable multitude of people crowded around Christ, when He began to instruct His disciples to not let their gathering together go to their head:  they were to beware of hypocrisy.

2.   Verse 2-3 - Christ continued to instruct His disciples to look at heavenly things, not earthly things.

3.   Verse 4-5 - Christ warned His disciples to not be afraid of them that kill the body, but fear him that is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

4.   Verse 6-9 - Christ wants His disciples to have utter confidence in God because He knows everything about them.

5.   Verse 10-12 - Christ instructs His disciples that God will bring every disobedience into judgment.  There is be those that will disagree so fervently with the gospel, that they will bring you into judgment, but don’t be worried about that day, or try to think ahead of time what you will say, God will give you what to say in the day you need it.

B.    It is at this point that someone in the company asks Christ to solve a family problem involving an inheritance.

1.      We could say that person wasn’t listening because what they ask is directly opposite from what Christ was teaching.

2.      We should remember that Christ wasn’t speaking to the great company that had gathered together, but was speaking to his disciples: see verse 1.

3.      I suppose the man figured that if Christ could heal the sick, raise the dead, and put the Pharisees and Sadducees to silence, he could also control his brother, who he considered to be acting in an irrational manner.

4.      It is interesting to note that families have always had problems with possessions, especially when parents die and the siblings don’t agree with the way the “old home place” was divided up.

C.    Christ didn’t honor the man’s request.

1.      Christ could have solved this problem just like he healed the sick and raised the dead.

2.      In verse 14, Christ declared that He wasn’t sent to solve problems like this.

3.      This is a problem that is caused by another problem - that of covetousness, and Christ was sent to preach concerning covetousness.

4.      It should be noted that Christ rebuked the man who made the request - it was his place to speak to his brother, and to check out his own soul for the sin of covetousness.

D.    Christ used the occasion to speak of righteous living.

1.      It must be noted that covetousness can creep into the lives of those that are following Christ, as this man was following Christ - as one of a multitude and not as an individual.

2.      Covetousness can also come into the lives of close followers of Christ.

E.   If our riches come because of an inheritance or hard work, never let these things come between us and serving God.


II.    The parable.

A.    Verse 16.

1.      This is a parable, therefore Jesus is not speaking about a particular person.

2.      Prosperity is possible without God.

a.      Often, it is taught that only people who serve God will be prosperous.

b.      This isn’t true - many people are prosperous who never serve God.

3.   This man received prosperity through much hard work.

B.    Verse 17.

1.      Having so many material possessions that you don’t know where to store them can be a good problem, but it can be a bad problem - if your possessions take our mind away from Christ and His work.

2.      The Bible doesn’t record that the man had any thought of giving tithes or offerings to God.

3.      He stated plainly that his entire crop belonged to himself, and to none other.

a.      I Samuel 25:25 - This story reminds me of Nabal, whose name means “fool”.

b.      He refused to share the blessings of God with David, and died after suffering ten days of what I believe was a heart attack.  I believe his heart attack was caused by hardness of heart because he totally disagreed with his wife when she gave David necessary supplies.  I Sam. 25:36-38.

4.      He …thought within himself…, not asking God, nor searching His Word for the answer.

5.      He reached a conclusion without asking God, nor searching His Word.

A.    Verse 18.

1.      It seems rather silly to me to tear down the little barns and build bigger barns to store the excess, because it seems to me that he could store some in the little barns, then build other barns to store the remainder of the excess.

2.      I have missed the point entirely when I think this.

3.      Christ is teaching that the man is wrong to forget God, get all his material possessions fixed up just so - so, then retire and live a life of ease.

4.      Matt. 6:19,20 - Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

5.      It isn’t wrong to retire, but is wrong to consider retiring without consulting God.

6.      It isn’t necessarily wrong to retire from secular labor, but it is wrong to retire from religious worship and service.

A.    Verse 19.

1.      He had to say it to his soul, because nobody else would be so foolish as to say it to him!

2.      One mistake he is making is assuming that he has many years left.

3.      James 4:15 - For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

4.      He assumed his health and all his present circumstances would continue indefinitely.

A.    Verse 20.

1.         God had a different thing to say to the man than he had to say to himself.

2.   Fool.  I have heard it said that this certain rich man was a fool, therefore, he was lost.

a.   Psalms 14:1 - The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God…

1.   The word “fool” in this verse means a stupid, wicked, vile person.

2.   The context of the verse indicates very, very strongly that the person that won’t admit there is a God is lost, for how can a man trust in God to save him when he doesn’t believe there is a God.

3.   The Bible doesn’t always say that a fool is lost.  A comparison of the word translated “fool”.

a.   The Greek word “moros”, which means dull, stupid, heedless, blockhead, and absurd.

1.   Matt. 5:22 - But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

2.   I Cor. 3:18 - Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.

a.   Paul is instructing the church at Corinth to build their lives on Christ, who is the solid foundation.

b.   These are church members, so they must be saved, at least they have made a profession of faith in Christ as their own personal Saviour.

b.   The Greek word “aphron”, which means mindless, stupid, ignorant, egotistic, rash.

1.   Luke 12:20 - But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

2.   I Cor. 15:36 - Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:

3.   II Cor. 11:16 - I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little.

4.   II Cor. 12:6 - For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.

5.   II Cor. 12:11 - I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.

c.   The Greek word “paraphroneo”, which means to miss-think, as in being insane.

1.   II Cor. 11:23 - Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.

4.   The point of the parable is not whether this certain rich man is saved or lost, or that whether any person who is rich is saved or lost.

a.   The point of the parable is that any person who lays up treasure upon this earth instead of in heaven is a fool.

b.   The lost person ought to realize that the life he now has on this earth will soon end and he will spend eternity in the worse torment imaginably.

c.   The saved person ought to realize that the life he has in Christ Jesus is the best life there is and that if he will actively serve God His way, God will provide everything necessary to his earthly existence.

5.   The rich man was a fool because:

a.   He thought that ease and wealth and worldly pleasure would satisfy his soul.

b.   He believed that having everything in this life was more important than having eternal life.

c.   He believed that there was no other purpose in him living than having great material substances.

d.   He believed his riches were his own, that he owed God nothing.

e.   He didn’t use his wealth to gain eternal rewards - see the parable of the Unjust Steward, Luke 16:1-13.

f.    He believed he didn’t need to prepare his soul to meet God.

g.      He didn’t consult God’s advice, but “…thought within himself…”

6.      The man would die that night.

a.      This was much, much sooner than he expected.

b.      Everybody expects someone else will die before they do.

c.      We all foolishly believe death will never come to us.

7.      Whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

a.      Eccl. 2:17-19 - Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit. 18  Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me. 19  And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have showed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.

b.      We honestly believe we will receive profit and recognition all those things we have worked for, but that is very seldom the case.


III.  Lessons learned from the parable - Verse 22-40. (at least)

A.    Verse 22-30.

1.      Don’t worry about having material possessions because God will always provide what we need, when he put him first.

B.    Verse 31-40.

1.   Be always ready to be with the Lord, never letting material possessions hinder us.