August 2, 2022

Life on Loan


Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God. Luke 12:21

William Shakespeare is known for penning the line, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be,” but the fact is that all of us have a loan that could be called in at any time.

Jesus told the story of a rich fool.  The man found himself with an overabundant harvest and so decided to tear down his existing barns and build bigger barns in which to hoard his wealth.  Thinking about his dilemma he said, “I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink and be merry'” (Luke 12:19).

The man considered his surplus, like his life, to be his own. If you read the story in the Bible book of Luke 12, you’ll notice that the man refers to “my crop,” “my barn,” “my grain,” “my goods” and “my soul.” But that night, as he went to sleep feeling smug and satisfied with himself, “God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things that you have prepared, whose will they be?'” “He did not realize,” wrote Ambrose, the student of Augustine, “that the bellies of the poor were much safer storerooms than his barns.”[1]

These are powerful, countercultural truths for us as well. Like the rich man, my life is not my own but is on loan from God, who could demand its return at any time. Jesus finished his story by saying, “A person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God” (Luke 12:21).  The life lived richly toward God stores up treasures that can never be lost.

[1] Bailey, K. E. (2008). The Parable of the Rich Fool. In Jesus through middle eastern eyes: Cultural studies in the gospels (pp. 306–306). essay, IVP Academic.