And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ (Luke 12:19)

What do the richest people in the world do with their money? Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates have declared they will leave their fortune to charity. Gates has started charities and foundations to fund research against AIDs and Malaria as well. Larry Ellison of Oracle bought a Hawaiian island and the local airline. Other billionaires like Carlos Slim buy soccer clubs, expensive paintings and private jets. Richard Branson of Virgin bought an eight-seater spaceship for $200 million; you can soar into space and enjoy six minutes of weightlessness for $200,000 if you don’t mind being taken for a ride! “Spare cash” is a great blessing. It buffers us from storms. But the parable of the rich fool in Luke 12 tells us one thing: that surplus is not necessarily security!

There is no evil in being rich. God wants to make our lives overflow so we will have more than enough for our needs and abound for every good work (2 Cor 9:8). The rich fool was not a fool because he was rich. He was a fool because of what he thought about money and what he did with it. Firstly he commended himself that he alone had earned the money (v 19). That led to self-worship and aggrandizement. But it is God who gives us the power to gain wealth (Deu 8:18) and when we become aware of that, it takes us away from self to what He wants us to do with HIS money!

Secondly ultimately, nothing belongs to us. When we think our money is ours alone, then we will do what the rich fool did: use all our money to build more storehouses just to store more money (v 18). Our lives become bound up in only one purpose: the focused accumulation of wealth. That is money-worship. Multiplying money is not evil. But loving it for its sake is (1 Tim 6:10). Jesus calls it covetousness (v 14) and the mark of such avarice is what makes my third point: that we define ourselves by “the abundance of things we possess,” in short: our net worth! We miss the true purpose of money and in so doing, miss the true purpose of our lives!

Ps Dr Philip Lyn

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