The Parable of the Rich Fool

Recently I laid a small circle of poison around a hill of stinging ants. Thinking the tiny granules of poison were food, the ants began to pick them up and carry them throughout the colony. I returned later to see how well the poison was working. Hundreds of the stinging ants w … More



This passage explains Jesus teaching against covetousness. It was  prompted by a man in the crowd who wanted Him to solve a family problem concerning an inheritance (vv. 13-15). Jesus knew his real problem was covetousness so he told a parable about a rich man who had unquenchable thirst for getting more and more. This parable of the “Rich Fool” gives us five principles of what happens when our hearts are focused exclusively on ourselves:

  1. We do not give God credit for the things He has done (v. 16). GREED
  2. We make plans but leave God out (vv. 17-18). EXCLUDE
  3. We consider spending our resources only on ourselves (v. 19). IGNORE
  4. We store up our treasures in the wrong places (v. 20). HOARD
  5. We will find ourselves in conflict with God’s plan for our lives (v. 21). OPPOSE

Many Christians are infected with covetousness and do not know it. It may be a thirst for money or things, or even a thirst for position and power. Jesus made it clear that true life does not depend on our possessions. There is certainly nothing wrong with following good business principles, or even of saving for the future (I Timothy 5:8). However, selfishness motivated by covetousness is wrong.



I do not want to be satisfied with the things that only money can buy. To do so will put me in danger of losing things that money cannot buy. My natural tendency is to be a greedy and covetous person.

Luke 12:13-21 (English Standard Version)

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View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »