Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Luke 12:13-21 in The Message (MSG). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Clearly Jesus enjoyed a good party! He enjoyed eating, drinking, and being merry so much that His critics found sufficient justification in His lifestyle to accuse Him of being a "glutton and a drunkard (Luke 7:34)."
This parable, therefore, is not about Jesus condemning “drinking, eating, and being merry." Rather, the man in this parable was called foolish for building bigger barns. The point of the story is that the farmer was planning to store more of his wealth than he needed in order to eat, drink, and be merry. The man says, "What will I do for I have nowhere to store my crops?" Not true! He has barns. His problem is that his harvest has been so big that his storage facilities will not hold all of the grain. So he decides, "I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain. Then and only then will I have ample goods to eat, drink, and be merry." Again, not true! He already has ample goods. He has barns to hold what he needs for his future. They may not be as big as he would like, but he has plenty to enable him to eat, drink, and be merry. The man already has enough wealth to enjoy a good life. He has a sense of well-being and security because God has generously blessed his land with fruitfulness.
The point of the story is not that there is something wrong with amassing wealth, but with the man's intention to store it all by building bigger barns. He was called "foolish" because he did not recognize that his wealth had brought him happiness and that it could do the same for others if only it were not locked up in those bigger barns. His sin was not that he had become wealthy, but that he wanted to hoard all his wealth. His sin was not that he ate, drank, and was merry, but that he withheld the means for others to do the same. He had become a bottleneck in the flow of blessings to others.
Recalibrate: What are some examples of “bigger barns” we have built? What is something you have in abundance that you could start sharing today instead of building a bigger barn?
Respond: Pray that God will keep us from the temptation to build “bigger barns," and will instead make us more generous with the blessings we have been given.
Research: Read Walter Brueggeman’s article The Liturgy of Abundance, The Myth of Scarcity.
Sam Leonor loves his work as chaplain to the students and faculty of La Sierra University. His ministry is marked by a call to radical faith in Jesus. He loves finding ways to engage culture deeply for the sake of the Gospel. He has devoted his ministry to helping young adults bloom into a faith that is growing, mission oriented, and full of love.
Imagine that you had to leave your home in a hurry never to return. What would you take? Does that change how you look at the rest of your stuff?
Pretend that you could have all that you possibly want right now. What would that look like? Jesus says in verse 15 that life is not made up of our stuff. What do you think He means by that? Does knowing this change what you want?
In the story, when the rich man had too much, he decided to store it all in bigger and better barns. Was that the right thing to do according to Jesus’ words in verse 15? What are some things you “store up”
that you could give to those in need?