The Parable of the Rich Fool

This parable is short and simple, but at the same time it is rich and profound.

The man is living like a fool, like someone who does not believe in God or as someone who lives as though God does not exist. “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’ ” (Ps. 14:1). He is oblivious to the sovereignty of God. “But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:20–21).


At the beginning of chapter 12 in the gospel of Luke, we find Jesus surrounded by many thousands of people as He warns them against the leaven of the Pharisees (v. 1). Immediately afterward, He continues with a second warning regarding whom to fear, saying:

I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! (vv. 4–5)

And yet, there was a third warning from Jesus for every man and woman: “I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God” (vv. 8–9).

Right in the middle of this rich spiritual teaching, “someone in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’ But he said to him, ‘Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?’ ” (vv. 13–14).

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