The Parables of Jesus: Day 15

The Rich Fool

by

Today's Text: Luke 12:1-34

In this study of the Parables of Jesus, we are reading many of the stories Jesus used to teach hearers about how to live as His followers. Each day we’ll read parables in their immediate context, focusing on a different category of parables each week. Then we will work through a series of questions to understand the meaning of the text and take to heart the “secrets of the kingdom.”

Editor’s Note: In this Parables study, Jesus Himself is telling us stories—stories He wants us to reflect on and process. Rather than asking our writers to write their own stories about Jesus’ stories, we thought it would serve you and the text better to provide questions to help you dig into the meaning of each day’s parable. If you find a parable or passage particularly confusing, stop and pray. Ask the Lord to reveal Himself to you in His Word, and thank Him that we can know Him without knowing all the answers to our questions.

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Week 3: Parables about following Jesus

Many of the parables Jesus told have to do with what it means to follow Him in this life. Addressing topics from anxiety and fear, to compassion for our neighbors and commitment to the truth, Jesus uses common scenarios and familiar places to teach His disciples how to live as His people. Each parable in this week’s daily readings speaks to the Christian life in some way. Use the questions below to help you dig deeper into Jesus’ teaching.

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Day 15 Reading: Luke 12:1-34

Questions:

1. What is anxiety, and where does it come from? Do you wrestle with it? How would you describe that struggle? How does the rich fool try to deal with potential anxiety?

2. How does Jesus respond to the problem of anxiety and control, and what are the outcomes of today’s parables?

3. What is the central point of these parables?

4. What is your response to these parables?

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  • This is the song we need to remember when all the anxieties of the world come rushing in. He already knows all of the things. Where you are going to college, who will take care of your kids, how the bills will be paid and every single teeny detail in between. https://youtu.be/r6NfOJl26F4

    Also, in our homeschool curriculum we are reading about George Muller. Look him up. He was a man who lived in the 1800s in England. As a pastor and missionary, he chose to trust God for all provision. He didn’t keep any extra money or possessions so that he was always fully trusting in God for all of his needs, including his next meal. He just prayed. I don’t know that in today’s world this is the way to do it, as I do believe being prepared is wise, but his example is certainly convicting.

  • I have suffered from chronic anxiety my whole life. I tried everything but couldn’t break through it and while I was Christian, nothing I was doing to further my walk with God was helping. But I believe God has been walking with me to this vet moment, and as I was being prayed for the woman told me God said that my time has come. In that moment I felt the Holy Spirit wash over me and I could barely stand. God broke the stronghold of anxiety and depression in my mind that the enemy had been building since the day I was born, I have been over a month without an anxiety episode and am clinging on to the words in today’s parable for dear life, because for the first time in my life, I am free and I know my father will provide for me! Hallelujah Jesus, you are a good good father!

    • Abby

      Amazing!! While the war may not be totally over, a huge battle has been won. Amazing how God can so easily wipe away a problem that we can work our whole lives to conquer. What a blessing to have Him on our side. He is a good, good Father, indeed!

    • Leah Rae

      Hallelujah!!

    • Annab

      Thank you for sharing this, I love hearing stories of where people have felt Gods presence. It is a great reminder that He is able and He still moves. Praying that you continue to walk in freedom from anxiety!

  • “One’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions.” Hah! Happy Cyber Monday!

  • Allison Joy

    Do I struggle with anxiety? Yes. Oh yes. My mind has a tendency to think of both extremes… good, and bad. And even though I know neither is likely to happen, I tend to dwell on the extremes. I’ve shared this multiple times here, but one of my life verses is I Peter 5:7. Casting all your cares upon Him, because He cares for you. They are such simple words, and yet it’s so hard to do sometimes.

    And now, a bit of a funny. I have a Bible verse a day calendar at my office, and one day, the verse was Luke 12:19, where it says, “And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.'” And I kept thinking, Nice motivational verse… except for the fact that the very next verse says that he’s going to die. Context. It’s important. :)

  • Diane Huntsman

    Thank you for sharing!! What a hard battle! Thankful that you have found balance oh sounds like!! It’s so difficult to not be overly consumed with our exterior selves in this culture of looks based era.. thank you again for sharing!!

  • This was a good way to get right at the issue today. I was feeling a little antsy, not fully knowing why, but realizing I had a class presentation later today + thinking of everything this week holds + the unnecessary pressures I try to pick up and bear.

    Reading the words, “What is anxiety, and where does it come from?” confirmed right away that I was sitting in a bit of anxiety, and was an even better reminder that when we are feeling that way we are able to call upon Jesus and rest in him.

    Thankful for God’s grace, and at times when my thoughts want to run wild He is there to calm me down. Thankful for God’s peace and care for me – for all of us!

  • I really needed this. I’m searching for a job and no one has even called me back for an interview. I have gotten my resume reviewed and revised so many times i can’t even count and i have become to anxious. I’m trying to drop the load of anxiety on his but it’s hard.

    • Heather64

      Hi Dee
      I too am in the same situation as you. I know the anxiety you are feeling. It is something I have to give to the Lord daily. God is so good and loves us so much that He wants nothing but the best for us. He has that perfect job out there for us. I’ll be praying for you.

  • To take this a different direction, verses 22-29 say it all for me here. That is because I wrestled for many years with an eating disorder. I was obsessed with my body and food. Always worried about what I was eating and over-exercising. These things became my “idols.” Food caused me anxiety, and it was also my way to deal with anxiety. I felt like I was in a constant (losing) battle of trying to control my body. I put my worth in the eyes of others instead of God’s eyes. I worried constantly about what other people would think of me. I also worried that if I gave up my control methods (excessive exercise, purging, calorie counting, dieting, etc.) that I would let myself go and become very unhealthy, unfit and unattractive. But as I found my relationship with the Lord, I have learned to trust Him – to give to Him the control. It’s been hard. It’s taken a few years, a lot of prayer and the right people God’s placed in my life. These days, I spend a lot less time obsessing over what I eat and my body and more time forgiving myself and putting my trust in God and how He designed me.

    • Bekah

      Thank you for sharing! I’m about a year and a half into my own recovery journey from anorexia and I can relate to you so much with feeling so much anxiety and attempting to hold onto control. Learning to lean on the Lord in the tough days definitely has been hard, but His freedom is so worth it! Handing over the control is a choice I make each day, each meal even, yet choosing to define myself through His truth (and speaking those truths to myself when the lies/urges to restrict are SO strong!) is where healing begins.

  • Melody Rose

    I love/hate the fact that this parable was given on Cyber Monday. Suddenly, all of the tabs I have open of things I want to buy for myself don’t seem quite so important.

  • God bless you Kara. I am praying for you to know and understand God’s love for you. My daughter struggles with this as well and my heart aches for you. God can and will walk you through this. He has already won the battle for you. Stand on His promises.

  • How timely to study this parable. In this season of gifts and office parties–and what to wear to them–and decorating, etc., etc., we are all subject to more anxiety and worry over possessions and what people will think. Obsession. This is my foe. When I spend more time thinking about the above than my relationship with God, my treasure is not in the right place. Walter Brueggemann says, “We who are now the richest nation are today’s main coveters. We never feel that we have enough; we have to have more and more, and this insatiable desire destroys us. Whether we are liberal or conservative Christians, we must confess that the central problem of our lives is that we are torn apart by the conflict between our attraction to the good news of God’s abundance and the power of our belief in scarcity–a belief that makes us greedy, mean, and unneighborly. We spend our lives trying to sort out that ambiguity.”

    • Holly

      Thank you for sharing this quote- what a clear division: Gods abundance vs our belief in scarcity…that lays out a mindset choice for me to remind myself of- probably daily or even hourly. Thank toi

  • Dear sisters, would you pray for me? This reading seriously hits home. I had to leave my job a few weeks ago because I was having anxiety attacks at work. I won’t go into all the details here, but please pray for wisdom in my next steps and that God would show His glory through my story!

    • Jeanna

      Will be praying for you, Kara. Praying that He orders your steps.

    • Elle

      Praying for you! I also pray you can get access to a good professional to help you get back to living your life! Sometimes it really helps to talk to someone knows the ins and outs of anxiety.

    • Christina D.

      Praying for you Kara. That’s a huge decision! Praying that more than anything else you will know and feel God’s constant presence, peace, and assurance that He will care for you like these scriptures describe.

    • Ellien

      Good for you to seek the Kingdom of God for all your needs. The Lord taught me this a little over a year ago. When I get anxious, I must give it to Him and tell myself God is in control. I was running late to a doctors appointment for a heart condition. The traffic was backed up and at every turn, I seemed to get slowed down more! I could not make up the lost time and was going to be over 30 minutes late! Then Scripture whispered to me, “God is in control, rest in the Lord”. I did so immediately, as a child wrapped in her Father’s loving arms. No anxiety at all! The doctor waited for me and all was well :-). Give your anxiety to the Lord to heal, which may be physical or spiritual. I pray Jesus guides you to complete recovery from anxiety attacks, no matter its origins. God bless you Kara and give you the peace only He can give. You see in this parable, to me, it is saying stop trying to take care of everything, to control your life, and give it up to Him who has perfect plans. That which is of this world has no value; that which is of God is a priceless way to peace here on earth and to eternity. We were created to follow the Light, not lead, and when we lead for benefit of our fleshly self, we are separating ourselves from the Light, which, according to this scripture says “Beware”!

  • 1. What is anxiety, and where does it come from? Anxiety is worry about the future and it comes from wanting to control the future and not trusting God.
    Do you wrestle with it? Yes!
    How would you describe that struggle? Situational.
    How does the rich fool try to deal with potential anxiety? He doesnt realize what he already has – he is anxious out of greed.

    2. How does Jesus respond to the problem of anxiety and control, and what are the outcomes of today’s parables? Relax, dont worry, you cant control it anyways so why are you trying so hard?

    3. What is the central point of these parables? You are a treasured possession who is well taken care of in all aspects. Do not listen to what the world says you need. Listen to me. I have taken care of all of your needs.

    4. What is your response to these parables? Xanaxy-like affect :) I feel calm and happy and joyful about the future. Now if I can make it last!

  • Cathylynn

    Help me to trust You, Lord, like the sparrows do! I see that I do not; my heart needs more of Your sweet work.

    LG, I pray that God reveals His power and His wisdom and His love for you as you look to Him for college decisions. And to me, as I depend on Him for wisdom in my marriage.

  • Power Love Sound Mind by Matthew West provides inspiration to me when I hear this little voice say “your not good enough.” I tell it. .I have not been given a spirit of fear. I have the power love and sound mind God has given me.

  • once I realized that worry/anxiety was a sin issue, it was like ….bam. I had been struggling with far away from God feelings and a dear friend helped me pinpoint the problem. She read me a quote that said ” to worry is to deny His power, wisdom and love for you.” What helped me was focusing in prayer on those 3 things…..

    • Susan

      I am on this same journey of dropping my load of anxiety at His feet, daily! I love the quote you stated and I too shall focus my prayer on these 3 things. Thank you for sharing.

    • Emily B.

      That’s a great quote. Thank you for sharing it!

    • Lauren

      This was such an insightful comment, thank you for sharing! That is exactly the wake-up call I needed.

    • Stephanie

      Yes!

  • Sisters in Christ, could you please pray Luke 12:25-26 over me? I am a senior in high school and feeling intense anxiety over the college application process. Please ask God to remind me that He will place me at the college that is right for his plan for me.

    • Meredith

      I will pray for you. I have a high school senior as well and understand your feeling of being overwhelmed. Will be praying for you placement of exactly where God desires you to be – a place where he will continue to cultivate his relationship with you and will utilizes your treasures for his kingdom.

    • Laura

      Praying for you LG! I was in your shoes a few years ago and totally know how stressful it can be. Proverbs says, “A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.” (16:9) and “Many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand.” (19:21). I firmly believe that the Lord will show you what He wants you to do and where He wants you to go. Just keeping seeking Him and waiting on Him. After praying and praying, I felt God calling me to a specific college–the school didn’t match up with any of my “wants” in a college. But I trusted God in that, and I am so glad I did. My 4 years of college ended up being the absolute best and the Lord did so much during that time. I’m praying that God will show you clearly His plan for you!

    • Laura

      I, too, have a senior and know what a stressful season of life it can be. Praying that God fills you with comfort, peace, and guidance.

    • Jenn

      I also have a daughter who is a senior and I understand your worry completely. Pray daily. Talk to God always. He will bring you peace and let you know exactly where you need to be. I think it is awesome that you do this devotion. Keep praying. Keep talking to Him. He will not steer you wrong.

    • Jenny

      Prayers to you, LG! Keep your faith strong and the Lord will guide you!

    • Daniella Moore

      Aw sweet girl! I will- God has already knows where you are going to college. The friends, the experiences, the professors, etc. It’s done. Walk with your head held high knowing that the Creator of the Universe is on your side. He wants what is best for you. You walk victoriously with him. Once I realized that God was for me, I realized I truly can’t fail. God is working all things for his glory. He wants you, his most esteemed creation, to thrive.

      I say this remembering when I got accepted into College. I didn’t find out until the first week of June…yup. Granted I was accepted to other colleges, but I wanted this ONE school. I was put on the waiting list, and for some reason, I just believed that I was going there.

      At first, I was anxious, because I ended up not liking any of the schools I got accepted to. They were great, but they were not my dream school. Once I realized that anxiety isn’t from God, but from Satan I rebuked it. Satan loves to take the truth and flip it on its head. He likes to strike us with fear slither back and blame it on the Father. Rebuke the lie of anxiety, it is not from God.

      I ended up resting in God’s peace. I knew that if I was the precious daughter God revealed in the scriptures I was going to be ok. That if the reflected love is woven into the scriptures were for me, then I felt real peace. Because if he loved me that much, he would place me somewhere great. And even if I ended up not going where I wanted he would have placed me somewhere to be catapulted from. I know it sounds crazy, but its the truth. I held out from completing my acceptance procedures till the last second. It was on the day I was leaving to China. That morning I filled out the papers, even more determined that God wanted me to work hard to to transfer to my dream college. 30 minutes later I got the acceptance letter to my dream college. Even if that didn’t happen, my rest in his plan was complete. I stepped out in faith regardless of the outcome. I knew God had me.

      I say this not to boast because I’ve definitely had my moments of high stress…especially in college. But, that is one of the unique times I actually lived out scripture.

      Rest in God. Your education brings him so much glory, so why would he withhold his best from you. Your completion of the application process is stepping out in faith. Don’t be distracted like Peter with the waves around you ( Matthew 14:22-23). Keep your eyes locked on him. Rest in his abundant love for you. He longs to share this important experience with you. As it says in the scriptures, It is your Father’s GOOD PLEASURE to give you the kingdom. It is his pleasure to bless you. It is his pleasure to give you wisdom. It is a pleasure to give you knowledge and so much more.

      Be at rest cause God wouldn’t sit on the sidelines of your life. He especially wouldn’t do it for your education, because your education will ultimately bring God glory and strengthen your relationship with him. The more you grow in knowledge and in your relationship, the more God just blows you away. The more you learn about science, math, history, English, etc, the more in love with your creator you become.

      I pray that God will shower you with rest. You have stepped out in faith, God will do the rest! Keep your eyes on him and you will go places you never dreamed of :).

      • Churchmouse

        Your advice is sound for so many areas : relationships, career, location. I’ve taken note because your words are so grounded in Truth-I never want to forget.

    • Natalyn

      LG, I’m a junior in college and the summer before my freshmen year had a stressful episode as I did not know where I was headed until August. In what seemed like failure, praise God that he works all things for our good!! He has a good plan for us and no matter what you do you can’t mess it up. Do your best and let God do the rest!:)

    • Christina D.

      Praying for you LG. I have found that sometimes, we don’t get the super clear “written in the sky” direction or answer from God we want for some of these decisions. But what we always have is God’s constant presence. Whatever decision you make or where you go, God goes before you, behind you, and beside you. Praying for you through his season of waiting and decision making.

  • I have had depression and anxiety for years but one of my therapists told me that depression is worrying too much about the past and anxiety is focusing on the future so if I can bring my mind back to here and now I’ll find a good place! It’s really helped me to center myself back to what God is doing today! I know both anxiety and depression can be much more than this but for some reason it really helps! I hope it helps someone else! God Bless!

    • Elaine

      I like that SB. Thanks for sharing. It does help me!

    • Deb Thompson

      I really like that thought process- it helps me so much when I think about “take no thought for tomorrow…”, I don’t regularly struggle with anxiety but it tends to creep up a few times a year and depression is a regular struggle. Thinking of it in these terms helps me to categorize it and even to know how to pray better for myself and others.

    • Janet

      Love this SB. I️ have struggled with anxiety and depression in the past and it has reared it’s ugliness again in the past several months. This helps

    • S.M.

      This reminds me of chapter 15 of The Screwtape Letters (C.S. Lewis’s fiction book in which an older demon instructs a younger one in how to tempt people) “The humans live in time but our Enemy [God] destines them to eternity. He therefore, I
      believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things, to eternity itself, and to that point
      of time which they call the Present. For the Present is the point at which time touches
      eternity” The rest of the chapter (free online!) is about how anxiety and even too much hope will take away our trust in God.

    • Jeanna

      Awesome, SB! Great way to frame what so many of us struggle with!

  • God’s provision will sustain us. If He gives us everything we need, we can focus on spreading His word to others instead of worrying about money, food, etc. Worry is a distraction that creates stress, which can cause health issues, which then take hours (or even years) off of our already short lives. I tell myself all the time ‘God’s got this’, because He does. Sure, I do still struggle with anxiety sometimes, but I ask for God’s provision every day.

  • Tochi Heredia

    I’ve struggled with anxiety for several years but I’ve only been diagnosed properly last year.
    To me, it looks like not having control of my own mind. I need every human interaction to be “perfect” and usually dwell over and over on how people perceive my comments, decisions, actions and work. Also, I am afraid of sudden illness, my own and my family’s.

    Yet Jesus has said time and time again that we have nothing to worry about, meaning that we might have to go through what the world sees as a catastrophe and that people might abandon usbor misunderstand us, but what truly matters are the things above. I need to preach the Gospel to myself everyday, reminding me of what’s really important in the Kingdom.
    We’re so blessed to have the Bible as our undeniable source of Truth, let’s use it to combat any and all intrusive thoughts. May we strive to seek His kingdom, His righteousness and His glory and put our trust in Him.

    • Christina D.

      Tochi this rings so so true to me, I feel like I could have written these words. The “intrusive thoughts” can be absolutely overwhelming and at times, even paralyzing. Thank you for the reminder to preach ourselves the gospel and naming the Bible as our undeniable source of Truth. Such necessary reminders for this morning!

  • Churchmouse

    Be on guard for hypocrisy. Fear not. Don’t worry. Watch for greed. Be rich towards God. Don’t strive. Don’t be anxious. Seek His kingdom. He will provide. Sell and give. Store up heaven’s treasures. Do not be one of little faith. (a summary of today’s Scriptures. Food for thought and action. Amen.)

    • CW36

      And “You can’t take it with you” – the things of heaven are nothing like the things of Earth, we must continue to strive to collect the intangible things of heaven that we can find during our time on Earth instead of collecting the things of Earth that are useless when we arrive in our Heavenly forever home.

  • For me the main thing I pull from these readings is to trust God. I know that I am at my most anxious when I’m not doing this. So often we can put our trust in our selves or in our possessions (with a constant need to acquire more), but these readings remind me that first and foremost we are cared for by God. We are so precious to him. Thinking that he knows the number of hairs on my head just blows my mind.

    • Kay

      I think anxiety – not trusting God enough – is my greatest, most constant sin. I have never been good about asking for help or accepting it, and that is really all God wants from us, to allow Him into our hearts and lives to be our ultimate protector and helper. Thank you for putting this so plainly, Abby. I am going to pray to God that He continue to soften my heart and open my mind to His help. Jesus teaches us every day to forgive, and today’s parables can remind us to let God in to do His work and release our anxiety.

      • Caroline

        I am so with you, Kay! This is a daily struggle for me – I will pray for you, and I’m also going to repeat your same prayer for myself! I hope we both continue to grow in finding peace in God rather than worrying about the thing which we imagine (but aren’t actually) in our control.

    • Emily B.

      Same here! Well-said this morning.

    • Jeanna

      Yes ma’am! I’m with you, Abby!

  • I can’t even begin to say how much this applies to my life. There are times I get to wrapped up in earthly possessions that I forget to place my trust in God. No earthly possession can compare to what awaits us in heaven. The shoes, purses, clothes, vehicle, home, etc I want because they are nice or I feel I need means NOTHING in the grand scheme of life. Not one single item i just listed gets or helps me store treasures in heaven, which should be my main priority. I need to start focusing on what I have been provided is enough and I need to start giving and helping others instead of buying or getting for myself! God has already provided me with absolutely everything I will ever need; he never fails us, we just have to place our trust in him.

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