The Rich Fool

Reading: Colossians 3. 1-4

Living as Those Made Alive in Christ

1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Footnotes:

Gospel Reading: Luke 12. 13-21

The Parable of the Rich Fool

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Suggestions for Hymns and Songs

Every hymn should be a ‘heart’ song….refer to film HAPPY FEET.

Hymn:

Praise my Soul the King of Heaven

Don’t build your house on sandy ground

We want to see Jesus lifted high

Christ as a light

The Lord’s My Shepherd I’ll Not Want

I am a new creation

Blessing: May THE Saints and Saviour Watch Over You (CD)

*by Northumbria Community on the CD May the Peace of the Lord JESUS Christ Go With You Track 3

Addresses throughout the service

I keep endless lists of ‘Things To Do’ , does anyone else? WHAT IS YOUR PRIORITY AT PRESENT?

‘Set your hearts and minds on things that are above not on earthly things!

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

Invite everyone to consider ‘What is on God’s wish list for each us, and as a church?’

Sometimes what WE want becomes more important than what God wants for us. Jesus said, Seek God’s kingdom, (God’s way) first and everything else will be added to you.’

The ‘I’ that should be too small gets very big indeed, it’s only by crossing it out, and thinking of others that we see what the cross is all about. (Show that when a large capital ‘I’ when crossed by a small capital ‘I’ forms a cross.)

Children’s Talk (with comments)

Billy the Balloon

I’m going to draw a face on this balloon, because this is BILLY…the balloon.

(draw face, and keep blowing balloon up as the story progresses, and have drawing pin at the ready, fastened to the middle finger with sellotape, in order to burst balloon at appropriate time)

This is what Billy looked like when he was small.

Everyone who saw him remarked, ‘What a cute balloon, what a lovely round face?’

He had everything he could possibly wish for…

every toy a balloon could wish for…

and boy did he love food, he would eat and eat until he was fit to BURST!

As he grew parents and teachers would ask him what he wanted to be when he got bigger and each time, he said…. ‘I’m going to be SUCCESSFUL!’

They thought that he was full of hot air…but he worked hard and he passed all of his exams throughout school, and got top marks in everyone of them. …Quite PUFFED UP he was with his success.

He went to a top university and got a degree in balloonology, and by then, as you can imagine, he had quite an INFLATED OPINION of himself.

Then he met Brenda, fell in love and they tied the knot ! (blow second balloon up for Brenda, ask a child to hold it carefully) and later they produced three mini balloons.

They bought a lovely home in Balloonville, added extensions to it, and they also purchased a top of the range car~

And the company he owned did really well.

Profits went SKY HIGH, as his business expanded…he grew in size too, he just got bigger and bigger.

Everyone who knew him looked at him and said,

‘He’s very SUCCESSFUL isn’t he!’

He became everything that society had trained him to be!

… a real HIGH FLIER!

He was popular, he had status and wielded great influence!

He said to himself, ‘I am a successful balloon, I deserve ALL THIS! I have all this! I made it all happen!

You can hear that his favourite word was ‘I’,

but also

ME, MINE, and PERSONALLY SPEAKING and MYSELF…

Others didn’t matter…just HIMSELF. He had no conscience, no values, no God but HIMSELF!

No-one can deny that Billy, up to this point in his life, was a very intelligent balloon! There was nothing STUPID about him at all… but he was a FOOL!… for he could not see beyond HIMSELF…nor could he see a world beyond this world!

He said to Brenda one day,

‘This is what life is all about, let’s eat, drink and have a good time…so they decided to fly off and join a world cruise.

Not many weeks later a taxi arrived to take them both to the airport, Billy was just locking the front door of his mansion, when... (BANG burst the balloon)

He’d popped……….his clogs!

Brenda decided to fly off herself without him

(let go of second balloon)

Billy was just like the man we heard about in the Gospel story…a fool.

Address

The bible defines the word FOOL, in this way…

The Fool is someone who says in his heart,

‘There is no God.’

I suppose that the fool is right…there’s no problem…for anyone.

But if he is wrong, then the consequences must be faced.

Why did Jesus tell such a parable? It’s quite sad really!

We’ve got to understand that Jesus had just been teaching his followers about discipleship, about all that’s important in life, and then someone interrupted him.

This someone had a problem , and it was all to do with money and inheritance!

So Jesus answered him with this parable.. a parable designed to help him sort out what should be important in his life.

Secondly, let us understand that Jesus is not saying prosperity in itself is wrong...

After indeed Jesus was given rich gifts when he was born, he was fed by friends as he wandered around preaching and healing, he was given shelter and lodgings, he was invited to feasts, all of these were paid for by someone.

He was even given a special room for his very last meal and a rich man’s tomb at his death.

These gifts were given by people who chose to serve Jesus, with what they owned.

(However the bible does warn against hoarding wealth and being greedy!)

The Rich fool keeps it all for himself, NOT ONLY HIS POSSESSIONS… but also his creativity, his ability, his gifts, his resources, his energy and his time.

I wonder why it was that the fool ignored the needs of those around him…

Was it ignorance, was it hereditary? Was it deliberate? Was he in denial? Did he feel there was nothing any one person could do or achieve alone.

Was it escapism that made him retreat into his riches? Perhaps he had never experienced real suffering for himself, and didn’t know how awful it was for poor people? We’ll never know.

But it MATTERS to God how we play the game of life. Our values, our consciences, our decisions and choices really MATTER to him.

On our entertainment’s evening at our Church weekend recently, some very wise words were showered upon us in a sermon. They were…

"When that One Great Scorer comes, to mark against your name,

It matters not who won or lost, but how you played the game, but how you played the game.."

it may very well be that the voice of God, in this story, is not in tone judgemental… but sad.

I’ve always read this thinking that God brought about his end…and that he spoke harshly to him…not necessarily!

‘FOOL! TONIGHT YOUR LIFE WILL BE DEMANDED OF YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’

No, perhaps the rich man’s life had simply come to an end…

listen to God’s voice spoken in a compassionate way….

You fool! This very night your life will be demanded of you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?

So what ought to be our priority in life?

There is someone who has tried to show us the mind of God. Jesus!

Jesus, who was the exact opposite to this rich fool in every way. He was the one who emptied himself for others, came from heaven, made himself poor so that we could become rich, and made himself a servant for us. In him we have all the answers, for in him we see what God is like, and hear the voice of the Father speaking.

So what did Jesus think was the answer?

In Mark’s gospel we are told that a man wanted to know what his priority in life should be, he asked Jesus ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?

Jesus answered him, …to love the Lord your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength and to love your neighbour as yourself.

The man, who was a teacher of the law, was delighted with Jesus’ response, and he declared, ‘You are right Teacher, these are far more important than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.

Jesus then says to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’

Let US ask ourselves some very important questions… before we make our confession today.

How far are WE from the kingdom of God? Do we really obey these two commandments or are they just words to us?

What does it mean to be rich toward God?

How should we really measure success?

How can we best serve God with the time left to us on earth?

Are we prepared to ‘PONDER ANEW’ what God can do, in and through us?

Let us pray that God will take our energy, our time, our thinking, our flair and creative skills and resources so that the world may feel the benefit?

Let us pray that will illumine our minds, and direct our lives and speak his word to our hearts each day…

Prayer:

And so let us make our confession before him:

Lord I am guilty of living life at times, as if you were not there at all.

Thank you for the many ways in which you have blessed me, and blessed those I care about most.

Thank you that Jesus came to show us the best way to live, a way which would be of benefit to the entire world…

Take my thoughtlessness, and turn it into thoughtfulness.

Take my feeble attempts to love others, and make me more compassionate.

Take my selfishness and greed, give me the gift of generosity; help me campaign for justice and fairness in our world;

and show me new and creative ways in which to do this.

Make me more like Jesus, who poured himself out for me.

Please forgive me, make me a new creation this day and help me to live for you from now on. Amen

(Source unknown)