Δευτέρα, 20 Νοεμβρίου 2017

"What is the meaning of the Parable of the Rich Fool?"



Orthodox Metropolis of Zambia and Malawi

The Parable of the Rich Fool can be found in Luke 12:13–21. The key to understanding this parable is in verse 15 (and later summarized in verse 21). Luke 12:15 says, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Jesus says this to the man who asked Him to arbitrate between him and his brother. In ancient times, the firstborn was guaranteed a double portion of the family inheritance. More than likely, the brother who was addressing Jesus was not the firstborn and was asking for an equal share of the inheritance. Jesus refuses to arbitrate their dispute and gets to the heart of the matter: Covetousness! Jesus warns this person, and all within earshot, that our lives are not to be about gathering wealth. Life is so much more than the “abundance of possessions.”
Jesus proceeds to tell the man the Parable of the Rich Fool. This person was materially blessed by God; his land “produced plentifully” (verse 16). As God continued to bless the man, instead of using his increase to further the will of God, all he was interested in was managing his increase and accumulating his growing wealth. So the man builds larger barns in place of the existing ones and starts planning an early retirement. Unbeknownst to him, this was his last night on planet earth. Jesus then closes the story by saying, “So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
So the point of the Parable of the Rich Fool is twofold. First, we are not to devote our lives to the gathering and accumulation of wealth. There is an interesting point made in the parable. God says to the man in the story, “And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” This echoes the thought expressed in Ecclesiastes 2:18 (“I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me”). You see it all the time in people who are singularly devoted to the accumulation of wealth. What happens to all that wealth when they die? It gets left behind to others who didn’t earn it and won’t appreciate it. Furthermore, if money is your master, that means God is not (Matthew 6:24).

Orthodox Christians in Rwanda (from here)
 
The second point of the Parable of the Rich Fool is the fact that we are not blessed by God to hoard our wealth to ourselves. We are blessed to be a blessing in the lives of others, and we are blessed to build the kingdom of God. The Bible says if our riches increase, we are not to set our hearts upon them (Psalm 62:10). The Bible also says there is one who gives freely and grows all the richer (Proverbs 11:24). Finally, the Bible says we are to honor God with the first fruits of our increase (Proverbs 3:9–10). The point is clear; if we honor God with what He has given us, He will bless with more so that we can honor Him with more. There is a passage in 2 Corinthians that summarizes this aptly (2 Corinthians 9:6–15). In that passage Paul says, “And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that having all contentment in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” We are blessed by God, so we can in turn “abound in every good work” and be a blessing in the lives of others. So, if God has blessed you with material wealth “set not your heart on it” and “be rich toward God.” That is the message of the Parable of the Rich Fool.

The Parable

Orthodox Metropolis of Zambia and Malawi


Luke 12:16-21
16 And He spoke 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 to store my fruits?’
18 And he said, ‘This will I do. I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there will I store 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.”
 

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От Луки 12:16-21
16 И Он рассказал им притчу:
– Земля одного богатого человека принесла ему хороший урожай. 17 «Что мне делать? Мне негде хранить весь собранный урожай, – подумал он. 18 – Вот что я сделаю, – решил он тогда, – я снесу мои хранилища и построю большие, в них будет достаточно места для моего зерна и другого имущества. 19 Тогда я смогу сказать себе: теперь у тебя полно добра на много лет. Отдыхай, ешь, пей, веселись». 20 Но Бог сказал ему: «Глупец! Сегодня же ночью твою жизнь возьмут у тебя. Кому достанется все, что ты приготовил?» 21 Так будет с каждым, кто копит богатство для себя, но не приобретает богатства для Бога.


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Lucas 12:16-21
16 E propôs-lhes uma parábola, dizendo: a herdade de um homem rico tinha produzido com abundância. 17 E arrazoava ele entre si, dizendo: Que farei? Não tenho onde recolher os meus frutos. 18 E disse: Farei isto: derribarei os meus celeiros, e edificarei outros maiores, e ali recolherei todas as minhas novidades e os meus bens; 19 e direi à minha alma: alma, tens em depósito muitos bens, para muitos anos; descansa, come, bebe e folga. 20 Mas Deus lhe disse: Louco, esta noite te pedirão a tua alma, e o que tens preparado para quem será? 21 Assim é aquele que para si ajunta tesouros e não é rico para com Deus.
 

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Luka 12:16-21
16 Kisha akawaambia mfano, “Shamba la tajiri mmoja lilizaa sana. 17 Akawaza moyoni mwake, ‘Nifanye nini? Maana sina mahali pa kuweka mavuno yangu.’ 18 Kisha akasema, ‘Nitafanya hivi: nitabomoa maghala yangu na kujenga maghala makubwa zaidi na huko nitaweka mavuno yangu yote na vitu vyangu. 19 Na nitasema moy oni, ‘Hakika nina bahati! Ninayo mali ya kunitosha kwa miaka mingi. Sasa nitapumzika: nile, ninywe na kustarehe.’ 20 Lakini Mungu akamwambia, ‘Mjinga wewe! Usiku huu huu utakufa! Sasa hivyo vitu ulivyojiwekea vitakuwa vya nani?’ 21 Hivi ndivyo itakavy okuwa kwa mtu ye yote anayehangaika kujikusanyia utajiri duniani lakini si tajiri mbinguni kwa Mungu
 

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ﻟﻮﻗﺎ 12:16-21
16 ثُمَّ رَوَى لَهُمْ هَذِهِ القِصَّةَ: «كانَ لِرَجُلٍ غَنِيٍّ أرْضٌ أنتَجَتْ مَحصُولاً وَفِيراً، 17 فَفَكَّرَ فِي نَفسِهِ: ‹ماذا أفعَلُ يا تُرَى؟ إذْ لَيسَ عِندِي مَكانٌ أخزِنُ فِيهِ مَحاصِيلِي؟›

18 «فَقالَ: ‹هَذا ما سَأفعَلُهُ: سَأهدِمُ مَخازِنِي وَأبنِي مَخازِنَ أكبَرَ مِنها، وَسَأخزِنُ كُلَّ حُبُوبِي وَخَيراتِي فِيها 19 وَأقولُ: لَكِ يا نَفسِي خَيراتٌ وَفِيرَةٌ، سَتَدُومُ سَنَواتٍ كَثِيرَةً، فَاطْمَئِنِّي وَتَمَتَّعِي!›
20 «فَقالَ لَهُ اللهُ: ‹أيُّها الأحمَقُ! سَتَنتَهِي حَياتُكَ فِي هَذِهِ اللَّيلَةِ، فَلِمَنْ تَصِيرُ الأشياءُ الَّتِي أعدَدْتَها؟›
21 «هَكَذا تَكُونُ حالُ مَنْ يَخزِنُ كُنُوزاً لِنَفسِهِ، دُونَ أنْ يَكُونَ غَنِيّاً بِاللهِ.»

See also

A voice from Zambia & Malawi about the Parable of the Good Samaritan!  
An african orthodox christian voice about the Parable of the Sower
Orthodox Church & Capitalism: Orthodox Fathers of Church on poverty, wealth and social justice
Is capitalism compatible with Orthodox Christianity?
Grace and “the Inverted Pyramid”

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