Parable of the Unwise Rich


“Then he told them a parable. There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, ‘What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest? And he said, this is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!’” But God said to him, “‘you fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.” (Luke 12:16-21) 

The parable told by Jesus shows the behavior of a greedy and ambitious man with a single concern: to work to accumulate material goods. We know little about him, but we can imagine that he did not care about the poor, destitute and hungry. The farmer’s monologue is egotist, because the person focused on property, social position or achievements can easily ignore God and neighbor.

Material wealth does not bring security and happiness. We must accumulate wealth for the Kingdom of God, Jesus said! Rich before God are the ones who do not accumulate wealth for themselves, but for the good of others. These rich work for the common good, and are not stingy or prodigal. The real wealthy is to love thy neighbor, and to keep granaries of good works overflowing for eternity.

Saint Basil of Caesarea, Greek bishop and doctor of the Church of the fourth century, stressed that riches are a gift from God distributed unevenly so that some are converted by patience and humility, while others gain treasures to Heaven distributing their goods. Wealth is not bad, but the miser is unwise because he forgets that he is only managing goods that God has given him.

This parable is a warning! We must work and save for the future, but we must remember that we are just passing through this world, we do not know if we will live tomorrow, and we should love our neighbor. I present gloomy world statistics of the year 2013 in the context of the parable: the population consists of approximately 7.1 billion people, and 1% controls 46% of wealth as reported by Reuters on October 9.

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