"You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you!"

One of my very favourite sources of cool stories is from the parables that Jesus so aptly shared.

Recently, my small group was discussing Luke chapter 12 and the parable Jesus told about the rich fool:

“The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
18“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
20“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?’
21“This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”

I was struck by how often I am exactly like that rich fool, focused on myself and storing up things for my own pleasure instead of thinking about what God would have me do with the material things he's blessed me with. I might start thinking about getting a bigger house, a newer car, a big screen t.v., buying the latest fiction book, getting a robotic vacuum (because what would be cooler than THAT?). I might get focused on building up a big account for retirement and think "oh, once I'm retired, THEN I can start thinking about how God might want me to serve him more".

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm all for putting aside money for a rainy day and being fiscally responsible. I don't think Jesus is advocating to give every penny away without any thought of the future. In fact, Paul writes in the book of Timothy that "8Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever". As a father, I especially feel the responsibility to care for my family, which would include some wise financial planning and ensuring that our family is going to be fed and clothed today, tomorrow, and 7 months from now.

But I don't want to be a fool either! It's very easy for me to be greedy - to want to spend all the money I make on myself and my own family. It's for me and people like me that Jesus warns "Be on your guard against all kinds of greed". What better way than to cut the greed out of my heart than by practicing cheerful giving to those in need, whether giving with money, with time, or falling to my knees and praying for those around us?

Help me, God, not to be a fool!