The Parable of the Rich Fool

October 22, 2023

Scripture Reading: Luke 12: 16 - 21 (NIV)

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17He 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 my surplus grain. 19And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain 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 whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

Message:  The Parable of the Rich Fool


This parable is the parable of misjudgement

It is way more that just a moral lesson of being generous

It is about the error of judgement to think that life exist in the abundance of things

It is about making the mistake of thinking the purpose of life is to have more and more

It is about not discovering meaning life through giving and sharing

It is a parable about focus being misplaced

It is about thinking you are doing well in life, while you are actually not doing so great - being a fool without realizing it!

The Rich Fool

He was privileged to have enough land to plant huge crops

And his farming efforts yielded a harvest of abundance

Instead of helping those in need around him, he decided to keep it all to himself, building even bigger barns to store up his abundance

It tells a story of where his heart was

Things was ruling his life

The word sharing did not exist in his vocabulary

In the way Jesus tells the story, there are eleven references of the rich fool on himself - “what shall I do?”, “I will do this”, “I will do that”

Yes, the focus was purely on me, myself and I!

Rembrandt and Picture of a Fool Today

The famous painter Rembrandt painted the rich fool 

Rich man thoughtfully examining one of his golden coins in a dark room by candlelight (in a golden lamp stand)

There’s a stack of books, a real status symbol in the time Rembrandt painted the picture

You see a set of scales with golden coins lying around, telling a story of a man that loves to weigh and measure his wealth

The facial expression that of pride and focus… he is happy with what he has and he is intent on managing it and looking after what he has

The picture is in the darkness, darkness all around him, but he is just happy to see what he has for himself with the limited light of the candle

I wonder what Rembrandt would have painted if he lived today?

I imagine there would be branded clothes and items in there

There might be some form of tech in the picture - a screen of some sorts (the bigger the better) and a phone and perhaps a fancy watch

I would think that there needs to be new car in the picture - or at least the keys of a fancy car brand on the table…

And perhaps, if you could fit it in, a nice picture of the cottage with a very nice view in the background

But I bet the expression would be the same - a man that is happy with himself and focussed on his wealth… a good Facebook profile picture?

Be Rich Toward God

Augustine said:  “The rich fool did not realize that the bellies of the poor were much safer store rooms than his barns.”

Jesus wants our heart to be in the right place

He wants our focus to be in the right place

He wants us to understand that life is vulnerable 

He wants us not to think we are ok and doing so good, while we are actually missing the point of life

The message is simple: It is much better to give than gather

Money and things are of no use once you die

Living for God, with your heart in the right place and your focus on the right things… that is worth everything!


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