Fool’s Folly

Read at beginning of service:

Luke 12:13-21 (NIV)

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17 He 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. 19 And 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.”

A stonecutter once delivered a slab of stone to a merchant. Seeing all his wonderful goods, he said, “I wish I was a merchant and had such things.” In the twinkling of an eye, his wish was granted. Then one day he saw a parade pass his store window. He saw a prince pass by in splendor and he said, “I wish I was a prince.” And immediately he became a prince . . . until the day the hot sun beat down upon him and he said, “I wish I was the sun, greater than any man.” And he became the sun and was happy . . . until a cloud came between him and the earth. He said, “That cloud over-shadows me. I wish I was a cloud.” Again his wish was granted. He rained down on the earth to his heart’s content until he came to a mountain, which wouldn’t let him pass. He said, “That mountain is greater than I, I wish I was a mountain.” Instantly, he became a mountain and he thought, Now I am the greatest of all. But one day a little man climbed up the mountain and with a hammer and chisel began to tap away at it. The mountain, unable to stop him, said, “That little man is greater than I, I wish I was a man who cut stone.” Once again his wish was granted and he became a stonecutter. He lived a long and useful life and everyone marveled at how happy he was. — Illustration Source: God’s Little Devotional Book

It was once asked of J.D. Rockefeller how much more money would it take to make him happy. His answer was, “Just a little bit more.” Man never seems to be content with life as it is. The pursuit for the biggest and best has ruined many a person, even after the scriptures warns to be content with the things we have (Heb 13:5).


Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

In the scripture that was read this morning, we see Jesus telling the parable about a man God called a fool because of his preoccupation of what he had and didn’t have. The parable warns us against the dangers of greed and the problem of materialism.

This man by most standards is the type of person parents want their sons to become and their daughters to marry. He was rich, hard working, ambitious and successful. The world calls him wise, but God calls him a fool. He was rich in every way except toward God. What he thought he could hold onto would soon make a quick departure. He was living the life of the fool.

A Fool’s Definition . . .

The fact that God calls this man a fool is significant ? even more so when to many of us, there seems to be nothing wrong with what the man does! The average person in today?s world might even commend the actions of this man. After all, was he not being wise in building bigger barns for the increase in crops? Was he not wise in preparing a nice little “nest egg” for his retirement? Yet God calls this man a fool! Why? Quite simply, this man is a fool not for what He does ? but for why He does it.

The picture of a fool emerges clearly from the Scriptures as one who is thoughtless, self-centered, and obviously indifferent to God.

Fool says there is no God … Psalms 14:1

Psalms 14:1 (NIV)

1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.

Fool speaks foolishness … Prov 15:7

Proverbs 15:7 (NIV)

7 The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools.

Fool walks in darkness … Eccl 2:14

Ecclesiastes 2:14 (NIV)

14 The wise man has eyes in his head, while the fool walks in the darkness; but I came to realize that the same fate overtakes them both.

Fool is consumed with self … Eccl 4:5

Ecclesiastes 4:5 (NIV)

5 The fool folds his hands and ruins himself.

Fool is right in his own eyes … Prov 12:15

Proverbs 12:15 (NIV)

15 The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.

Fool rages in self-confidence … Prov 14:16

Proverbs 14:16 (NIV)

16 A wise man fears the LORD and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless.

Fool has no delight in understanding … Prov 18:2

Proverbs 18:2 (NIV)

2 A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.

When God called this man a fool He was saying the man is ignorant, egotistic, and unbelieving. This man was filled with “folly” . . . wisdom based only on human intellect and experiences without considering God. The chief folly found in this man?s behavior was that he saw his life wrapped up in the riches that he owned without considering that he didn?t really own it and that God mattered.

Through his foolish life and heart style his prosperity, security and eternity would definitely depart from him. And it is in this that this parable tells us of the fool?s follies.

Folly #1: Pompous Prosperity . . . vs. 16-18

Luke 12:16-18 (NIV)

16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17 He 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.

This man was prosperous and a man of plenty when it came to his fields yielding a crop. Viewing his prosperity as coming from his own hand, he failed to recognize the active hand of God.

Ecclesiastes 7:14 (NIV)

14 When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.

This man’s view of his life was at best shortsighted being restricted to the present. The fool’s only aim in life is to provide for present success. His fields were producing a high yield of crops as well as a field full of pride. He assessed his situation as time to build new buildings to hold what he had amassed today.

Take note of how he was consumed with his prosperity . . . “Thought to himself . . . What shall I do . . . I have . . . I will do . . . tear down . . . build bigger . . . I will store? my grain ? my goods.”


Proverbs 14:16 (NIV)16 A wise man fears the LORD and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless.

Ecclesiastes 4:5-6 (NIV)

5 The fool folds his hands and ruins himself. 6 Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.

1 Timothy 6:10 (NIV)

10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Greed has set his heart toward the throne of himself. It appears it was all he could do to contain himself over his accumulated prosperity.

But it was all soon to depart from him. The thought “eternity is but a heartbeat away” never entered his mind. The things he thought composed life were but the temporary passing through his fingers. And this is one of the chief follies of this fool.

2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)

18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Remember this man was rich in everything, but he was not rich toward the God of yesterday, today, tomorrow and eternity. Are you the fool in the parable of life whose prosperity is quickly departing leaving you wanting in the face of eternity?

Folly #2: Pampered Security . . . vs. 19


Luke 12:19 (NIV)19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”‘

By modern day standards this man was the wisest of all. In a sort of way he achieved the dream of every person that plays the lottery and all other get rich quick schemes . . . to be able to kick back and take it easy the rest of their lives.

Look at this man, he had it made for years to come with money in the bank and a good retirement awaiting him. He thought his security for the future laid within his own hands. It was not time to consider life, but to party the rest of his days!

Are we inclined to follow this fool? Through the voice of Amos God warns us not
to be at ease in Zion thinking our security is in great wealth and riches. It leads to a false sense of security.


Proverbs 28:26 (NIV)26 He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.

Jeremiah 17:5 (NIV)

5 This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD.

Having a retirement pension plan is not the issue here. It goes much deeper to where we find our security today as well as tomorrow. Are we going to place our trust in the things of man such as social security, and security bonds, and retirement plans or is our trust going to be in God who offers eternal security?

Proverbs 1:31-33 (NIV)

31 they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. 32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; 33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”

Beware if you’re security is found in your own making for fancy free living results in destruction. Don’t be a fool heed the instruction of the Lord.

Folly #3: Pretentious Eternity . . . vs. 20-21


Luke 12:20-21 (NIV)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.”

This man thought his wanting days were over, but he quickly discovered that his greatest want laid ahead in eternity. Payday someday was today for this man. He had foolishly allowed himself to believe that he was accountable to no one.

Man is but a care taker (steward) of his life. At the end of this life all must give an account to the Creator. God called for (required) an account of this fool’s life.
What was the pay back? His soul!

All that he had accumulated would profit him nothing. He had failed to prepare for eternity. This night he would harvest from his deeds not his fields.

It was said of John Jacob Asters who went to a watery grace upon the Titanic, that he was a man who had everything, but on that fatal night everything he had was not enough.


Mark 8:36-37 (NIV)36 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37 Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

Psalms 14:1 (NIV)

1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.

The fool is the eternal loser. Because his life is consumed with selfishness he fails to lay up treasure to be rich toward God. The rich fool became the poor fool in eternity. The abundance of things we might possess never impresses God.


Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

What’s the point? Treasures . . . and where you are storing them.

It might be hard to believe that a person would be so self absorbed they would trade away eternity with God for eternity in hell. But is it? What are you trusting in to take you into eternity? What is your life emphasizing? God or material possessions?

Conclusion:

Jesus told this parable after someone asked him to be an arbitrator between him and his brother. Christ did not come to arbitrate over the wealth of man but to be the mediator between sinful man and righteous God.

The worse folly a fool has is to stay just as he is. The greatest wisdom a fool can have is to turn to God. Isn’t that the emphasis of the parable?

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