And he told them this parable: ‘The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, “What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.” ‘Then he said, “This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’ ” ‘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?” ‘This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich towards God.’
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Luke 12:16-21, 34 (NIV)
God isn’t against people preparing for the future, what he is against is preparing for the wrong future.
When Jesus told the parable about the farmer recorded in Luke 12, he wasn’t telling his listeners that they shouldn’t prepare for the future. Look at the parable and notice what Jesus says about the farmer: ‘He thought to himself, What shall I do?‘ Notice how many times the word ‘I’ or ‘I’ll’ is mentioned. This farmer had one focus and it was on himself.
The parable moves on to the futility of storing up wealth and possessions by revealing something we all know, but don’t always want to acknowledge, that our hold on life is tenuous at the best of times. Yet the frailty of human life in itself should not be our primary reason for using wealth and possessions in a particular way. The farmer’s problem was that he thought his wealth would give him security. He didn’t see his security as being in God, but in what the world could provide.
Notice what Jesus says later in the parable: ‘This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich towards God’. It is also the selfishness that God is against. The parable confronts us with a picture of opposites : ‘worldly wealth’and ‘spiritual poverty’. The farmer may have been wealthy in human terms, but was poor in terms of those things that mattered to God.
In Luke 12:34 Jesus presents us with the crux of the matter. He says: ‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also’. If you spend your life focussed on the wrong things you will
I would reiterate something I said at the start of this post: God is not against preparing for the future. It is a matter of perspective. If you think that this life is all there is, then you will prepare for it in whatever way you choose. If you believe that there are things of eternal importance, you will prepare for eternity.
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