Every day we face a barrage of things that need to be done – work, meetings, shopping, phone calls, cleaning, DIY, people to see, books to read, and so on. The only way to cope is to set priorities and deal with the important issues first. But, how do we know what is important? A Bible parable might help us decide.
In Luke’s Gospel chapter 12 we meet a man who did nothing bad, yet God calls him a fool. Why? Because he got his priorities tragically wrong. He was a successful businessman – so successful that he no longer needed to work. He could retire and live comfortably for the rest of his life.
He thought he had many years to live and planned to take life easy – to eat, drink and be merry. If he lived today he might take a Caribbean cruise or visit the pyramids in Egypt. So many things he could do! But God calls him a fool.
Why? Not because he worked hard, made money, and planned for the future. Those are all good things! The man was a fool because he made no provision for his death. Everything was focused on the ‘here and now’.
This man was about to retire, but just listen to him. ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years’. Many goods maybe, but many years? Sadly, no – he died that night!
Every time he looked in the mirror he saw his age. His parents were dead and his circle of old school friends was shrinking. How could he ignore such warning signals that he too must die?
Death is the ultimate statistic – 100% of us end up dead. So why delay in making provision?
Maybe he always intended to do something about it but more pressing things got in the way. Things like sowing and reaping, family, synagogue (yes, he had time for religion!) -and so on. The urgent things left him no time for the important things!
Last evening I was talking to a person with some real problems. I needed to give him my full attention, but my mobile phone kept ringing. ‘Here I am, here I am’, it seemed to say. ‘Urgent, answer me – I demand your attention’.
Eventually, I did the right thing and turned it off so that I could focus on priorities. Sadly our rich man never got round to doing this.
He was a fool also because he never thought about God. God is the most obvious of all realities. Look in the mirror. Look at the Earth. Look at the universe. Don’t they tell you that God is the Ultimate Reality?
But notice the rich man’s speech. He uses the personal pronouns – I, me, my – nine times but never mentions God. Odd, because he was probably a religious man who attended the synagogue. Yet ‘out of church’ God was nowhere in his thinking. Given the abundant evidence for the reality of God it is the height of foolishness to shut him out of our lives.
Finally, he was a fool because he never considered eternity. He packed all his efforts into this life and gave no thought to ‘forever’ – and ‘forever’ lasts a long time.
So, how about you? In God’s all-perceiving gaze you are either wise or you are a fool. Listen to Jesus’ concluding words of application: ‘This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich towards God’.
Are you rich towards God? Do you have ‘treasure in heaven’? These are the most urgent issues you will ever confront – because there is a God, there is ‘forever’, and you certainly will die!
So, how can I be rich towards God? Well, you can’t earn these riches, but fortunately God himself provides them as a free gift. The Bible says, ‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich’ (2 Corinthians 8:9).
God the Son left the riches of heaven and became poor. He took humanity, became man, and died horribly on a cross – and he did it for your sake! He was rich beyond imagination, yet for you he became the poorest man on earth. On Calvary he took the punishment for your sin, so that ‘through his poverty, you might become rich’.
I guess you knew that – but if you have done nothing about it, you are the greatest of all fools! Wise up; repent and trust in Jesus Christ.