I was teaching the parable of the rich fool this past week in our Wednesday night service, and then this morning I came across this releated quote. It seems that this week I should be considering what it means to be rich, and so of course it’s only right that I share it with you.
A man is rich in proportion to the things he can afford to let alone. – Henry David Thoreau, American Author
Being rich is about being focused on the right things, and not being focused on the wrong things. Today’s quote is NOT from the Bible but it is wise nonethless. If our focus is on our stuff, and how much we have, and how much we don’t have, then we will never be happy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine to have stuff and to live comfortably, but that should not define who we are. Jesus teaches in Luke 12 to “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions”.
In the parable of the rich fool, Jesus does not condemn the man for being prosperous, He condemns him for being greedy. Rather than thanking God for his abundance, and then sharing with those in need, he devised a plan to keep everything for himself. He completely missed the mark, loving himself more than anything. Had he focused on loving God above all and his neighbor as himself, he could have enjoyed his prosperity while at the same time making the lives of those around him better.
The lesson: we should focus on being rich in the things of God, and God will provide everything else. And should our souls be required of us, then we can enter The Kingdom with confidence. What do you think?