It has often been said that no one has seen a tombstone which read, “I wish I had spent more time at the office.” But there is also a saying that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, while all play and no work makes Jack a duller boy. What do these two thoughts have in common? Their point is that we cannot invest ourselves in one thing or another so completely that we miss what is important.
To teach that lesson Jesus presents a parable about a successful farmer. What is the man planning to do? What will his attitude be (verse 19)? What is Jesus’ comment in verse 21?
It would be easy to talk about the evil of riches and greed in reference to this parable. The man thinks he is secure because he can expand his barns, but in fact he will die. Then what is the purpose to all of his work?
But I am not certain this parable is as simple as that. The ground of the rich man produced a good crop. He had a good year and saw a profit; so what? Good for him. What is important is his attitude.
He will say to himself, “Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” There is no indication that his focus was entirely on wealth until that point. Now, he is distracted from living a good life by living “the good life.” He has allowed his wealth and a life of leisure to distract him from what is more important.
And Jesus comments that this is how things will be for “anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” We can store up “things” for ourselves without storing up riches for ourselves. We can fill our lives with so many things that are important to us that they distract us from experiencing Jesus in our lives.
If we allow ourselves to be distracted by other interests – money, work, sports, hobbies – we are failing to be rich toward God. We are failing to focus on the goodness we should be doing, the service to God and fellow man, to mercy and compassion. We fail to experience Christ because we have been distracted.
DAILY CHALLENGE: What can you do to be rich toward God?