Sunday, March 13, 2011

Luke 12: Bad Investment Strategy

There are "all kinds of greed" (12:15), Jesus warns in his intro to the Parable of the Rich Fool, which is recorded only by Luke.

Here's a greedy, wealth-obsessed businessman who sees a good year not as a blessing from God, but as just a springboard to an even better year, after which he can retire at the age of 40, buy a yacht, race motorcycles, and collected toys, accolades, and sexual trophies now and forevermore, amen.

This man is twice a fool. First he fails to consider anyone other than himself, including those who helped him succeed (God at least, friends and family probably). Forsaking gratitude turns friends into enemies. Second, he has assumed - O foolish, foolish man - that his life span will be something like the allotted three score years and 10. Yet on the cusp of "success" God says to him "your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?" Today the answer would be, two kids who never knew their dad, with trust funds to be administered by an ex-wife laughing in triumph, "at last, at last!"

Through scripture God advises me to work and plan wisely for the longterm - see James ("if the Lord will, we will go and make money"), Proverbs ("go to the ants, thou sluggard") and Jesus ("count the cost"). But the rich fool is like the pathetic high school sports star who thinks "success" is winning the state championship and dating the cheerleader, period. He neglects his studies and consideration of others. He may seem wise in his own adolescent eyes, but he lacks a longterm strategy to succeed in the real world.

As I plan, I must take into account the Source of my riches, how to bless others, and in general how they may be leveraged so that I can best enjoy my eventual Retirement from this earthly body.

As for the "all kinds of greed" - I need to also be on guard against my greed for love, affirmation, applause, and another Red Sox World Championship. Nothing wrong with any of those things, except when in their pursuit I drop this heavy cross that is slowing me down.

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