Luke 12:16-21 :
He spoke a parable to them, saying, “The ground of a certain rich man brought forth abundantly. He reasoned within himself, saying, ‘What will I do, because I don’t have room to store my crops?’ He said, ‘This is what I will do. I will pull down my barns, and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. I will tell my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years. Take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.”’
“But God said to him, ‘You foolish one, tonight your soul is required of you. The things which you have prepared—whose will they be?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
If you think about it, it doesn’t make any sense to store up wealth on earth. What good is it going to do when you are dead? I think that the way that this world get’s people to focus on wealth is to cause them to forget that they will soon die. To purposely avoid reality is not very intelligent, but that is exactly what “intelligent” people of the world do.
To make matters worse, when we die, we will face the Creator who has expected us to behave the way He has described in the Bible. Storing up wealth for ourselves is not one of His expectations. It is true that we may lay up something for our families, we know that from other parts of the Bible, but the Bible is very clear that He expects us to help those who are in need.
The rich man in this parable thought that he had a long time to live, but he was foolishly relying on his own assumptions. He actually had a very short time to live and was about to be held accountable for the fact that God had caused his ground to bring “forth abundantly.” Notice that this man already had barns before he built bigger ones. It doesn’t appear that God is against having a savings account, but rather that the man assumed that his wealth was there to serve only himself.
The Bible tells Christians that we are to work with our hands in order to have enough to give to others. Our work should be focused on the hope that we will have enough to give, not on having the ability to lead a casual life. “Retirement” for a Christian comes after death not before. I’m not saying that we should never stop laboring for money on earth, but that we should never stop serving others in our labors. Our purpose is not to store up for our own lives, but to have enough to give to others in need. If having enough to help others means going to work, that’s what we should do. If we have extra money we can stop earning more and serve others, or keep earning and giving it away as fast as possible to those in need. I believe that this is a good goal for Christians who “retire” on earth.
The goal is to be “rich toward God” in preparation for when your “soul is required of you.” Our souls are still the property of the Creator and He has expectations for each one of us individually. We should seek to live up to those expectations. It is also very important for us to remember that it is God who has provided for us. We did not provide for ourselves. We obeyed God by working hard, and He made it productive. God has a more significant part in our treasures just as a farmer’s land and weather conditions have a more significant part in causing crops to grow. Ultimately, we need to confess that we depended on God for our wealth.