The parable of the rich fool is part of the greater teachings of Jesus Christ. This is a parable that is only found in the synoptic Gospel of Luke. This is the only parable where God is an active character in the story. Christ started to teach a series of various biblical principles that we must consider for a genuine renewal and revival. The rich fool church summarizes human folly and the error of thinking one does not need God. The rich fool church is a missional irony, a great long-term planner, but a terrible planner, completely unprepared for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The rich fool church have an earthly, temporal view that ignored the spiritual and eternal. The rich fool church gets life and death wrong.
The rich fool church like the man in the parable disregards God’s providence and commandment. Just as the rich fool man misunderstood accountability to God for his soul influence his perspective of life, rich fool church lacks vision for eternity. The rich fool church is a fool because of the lack of knowledge to whom the souls of the members belong. The rich fool church decline more in souls than in wealth and possessions. God said, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you’ (Lk 12:20)
The rich fool church is under the danger of hypocrisy and lack of the fear of God (Luk 12:1-7). The rich fool church like the man in the parable is self-focused without any mission sense of what to do with so many physical and spiritual riches. The rich fool church takes joy in pulling down the ancient landmark, the faith of our fathers thereby become complacent, satisfy with self achievement.
God talked to the man just as He is talking to the church today, calling us fool as we are busy but guilty, laying up treasures of theology and new ways of being church for ourselves but forget about God’s holiness. This parable about a man who was considered a fool is a warning on the state of the church today, the Rich Fool Church,’ because of how we focus on our riches – wealth, structure, theology and manpower to the neglect and decline of souls. The parable is a warning against covetousness, self-indulgence and a reminder that there is more to our existence than material things (Luke 12:15). Is the church today aware that we belong to God, including our souls. Do we recognise that we are going to be called to account for what we have done with the lives God’s given us?
Covetousness as a common human problem blinds us to the truth that God owns everything. Covetousness is a sin especially to a rich fool church and should be dealt with properly to prevent it from creating more decline and divisions. The rich fool church believe other brethren who refused to go along with the division of the spiritual inheritance are the problem. Jesus knew there was a bigger problem hence, he gave a serious warning when He said, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (v.15). Let us be warned, ‘covetousness creates the illusion that true happiness is found in material wealth. It deceives us that once we get what we want, we will be satisfied.’ Covetousness can deceive you; can make you bitter, sour, and depressed, can make you selfish; can make you proud and forget God. Jesus Christ is warning the rich fool church by saying that we must “Take heed.” The word “Take heed” from the Greek word, “Horao” means to discern physically or mentally the things that may lead to covetousness and be alert to its early signs of taking root in our hearts.
The rich fool church trust in riches. Jesus’ word is a reminded to the rich fool church, “Not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). Our lives are more than the things we own. Even if we were able to acquire all that we might hope to gain in this life, it will not help us in eternity. Jesus said, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). The rich fool church trusts in pleasure and material possessions – which cannot save. Paul told Timothy, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17).
One day the souls of the rich fool church will be required just as God told the man, “This very night your soul is required of you” (Luke 12:20). One day the spirits of the members of the rich fool church will return to God and be judged (Ecclesiastes 12:7, 14). James wrote, “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). The rich fool church like the man may think we have more time (Luke 12:19), the warning is that, we must be ready at all times, death occur at any time, and our Lord Jesus Christ could return at any moment as well (2 Peter 3:10).
The parable of the rich fool serves as a missional warning to the rich fool church. Enough of ‘focusing all of our attention on the temporal things of this life. We are raised to make spiritual things a priority. Jesus said, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). The rich fool church is failing in this context. It is time to stop acting foolishly. God cannot be fooled, we can only fool ourselves as a person, family, church or nation. The warning to the rich fool church is to be on guard against the danger of covetousness.