And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
The rich man in this parable may have had fruitful ground, but he had a fruitless life. The accumulation of a lot of stuff is not the measure of greatness that God is looking for, though it seems to be the goal of many in our world today. The aim of so many is to have so much and rest in their abundance, but what good does that really do? The rich man found it did not matter that much when God came calling for his soul. It didn’t prevent death from coming. It didn’t prevent God’s judgment. And it certainly didn’t gain him entrance into heaven.
We can’t feed that spiritual and eternal part of us with worldly fruit and treasure. Those things can satisfy the fleshly. They can matter in our physical life. But our souls live on beyond this life, and in that place, those earthly goods don’t matter at all. The rich man thought to make his soul at ease with riches and plentiful things, but he could take nothing with him to satisfy his soul in eternity. And if we spend our time accumulating things we can only enjoy here, our eternity will be very empty.
What kinds of things are we accumulating in our lives? Are we filling them with an abundance of treasure that will only rot or melt away? Are we ignoring God as we pursue a life of selfish consumption and strive just to have more and more and more? Or do we have a more balanced perspective? Life is not about a pursuit of things to have, but it should be a pursuit of God, a life lived abundantly in His presence and in His will. We should be more concerned about living a life to please the Lord, not a life of ease and selfish pursuits.
What makes a truly fruitful life is what is done for God and done for others. What if this man, instead of seeking to hoard and keep and consume as much as he could, had chosen to give to those who had nothing, to be a blessing, to make a meaningful difference in someone else’s life? What if, out of thankfulness for the ways God had blessed him, he chose to glorify God instead of building himself up? May we choose to live in such a way that the measure of our lives isn’t in how big our barns are and how much stuff we have, but how willing we are to be used, to give, to serve, and to bless others with our lives.