Luke 12:13-21: 8 Best Lessons from the Parable of the Rich Fool

Are you looking for the best lessons from the parable of the rich fool? If yes, then you came to the right place. In this post, let us study the deep lessons from this parable, how to overcome covetousness, and how we can better manage the blessings God gave us.

What is the parable of the rich fool?

Luke 12:16-21 tells us about the time when Jesus Christ (Yahshua the Messiah) talked about the parable of the rich fool. However, we must also read Luke 12:13-15 to get a clearer context to what the intent of the parable was.

There are two interesting facts that we should know about this parable:

  • This is a parable that is only found in the synoptic Gospel of Luke.
  • This is the only parable where God is an active character in the story.

If you try to read the whole chapter of Luke 12, you’ll see that the parable of the rich fool is part of the greater teachings of Christ. 

It all started when a huge number of people gathered together around Yahshua.

That’s when Christ started to teach a series of various biblical principles that we must consider:

  • In Luke 12:1-3, the Messiah talks about the danger of hypocrisy.
  • In Luke 12:4-7, Yahshua talks about fear of God.
  • In Luke 12:8-12, we read about confessing Jesus before men and not denying Him.
  • Then in Luke 12:22-34, we read about Christ’s teaching about worrying.
Luke 12:13-21: 8 Best Lessons from the Parable of the Rich Fool
Luke 12:13-21: 8 Best Lessons from the Parable of the Rich Fool

Luke 12:13-21 verses

To have a better idea of what Luke 12:13-21 is, here’s what it says. Let’s read:

13 Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

14 But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” 15 And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 

18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’ 

20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’

21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” 

Discussion questions for the parable of the rich fool

There are parable of the rich fool discussion questions we might want to consider as we continue with our study.

Here are some of them:

  • What is the relation between Luke 12:13-15 to Luke 12:16-21?
  • Is the parable talking about a particular story or is it a metaphor for the kingdom of God?
  • What are the lessons we can learn from the parable?
  • What did the rich man intend to do with his abundant harvest?
  • How should we manage wealth according to the parable?
  • Why did Jesus share this parable?
How should we respond to God’s blessings based on the parable of the rich fool?

The parable of the rich fool summary

The parable of the rich fool is found in Luke 12:13-21.

Christ was teaching an innumerable crowd when one of the people presented an unexpected request. The man wanted Jesus to tell his brother to divide the inheritance with him.

Jesus’ didn’t say yes. Instead, he answered the request of the man with a question. The Messiah asked who made him the judge or arbitrator between the two brothers.

Then, Yahshua gave a warning to the man and the rest of the crowd. He instructed them to avoid covetousness for possessions that don’t define the value of a man.

This is where Christ introduced the parable of the rich fool.

The parable starts with a man whose ground yielded a lot of crops and goods. The man, then, talked to himself and wondered what he should do with so many crops and goods.

That’s when he decided to pull down his old barns and build bigger ones. The man became complacent for the many goods that he had laid up to himself.

However, God talked to the man and called him a fool. The man died that night and left his possessions and belongings.

After giving the parable, Christ ended by saying those who lay up treasures for themselves but forget about God are not rich.

Now that we have the summary of the parable of the rich fool, let us now take a look at some of the best lessons from it.

Lesson no. 1: Covetousness is a common human problem

We come to the first lesson of the parable of the rich fool.

A lot of people know that covetousness is a sin and should be dealt with properly to prevent it from creating more problems.

However, not everyone realizes they have this problem in their life until it is pointed out to them.

When the man approached Christ, he believed that his main problem was his brother who refused to divide the inheritance with him.

However, for Christ, He knew there was a bigger problem.

Covetousness blinds us to the truth that God owns everything.

Becoming Christians

Notice Luke 12:13-15:

13 Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

14 But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” 15 And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

As you can see, the man has a deeper problem and Yahshua (Jesus) saw right through his heart.

Look at the focus of Christ in verse 15. It says, “And he said to THEM.”

At first, the Messiah was talking to the man, but He immediately talked to the crowd where the man belonged.

In effect, Jesus was saying, “Look, covetousness is a problem and this is not just a problem of that man, but all of you.”

Jesus was showing his audience that covetousness was not only a problem of the man but a lot of people in that crowd.

It only shows that covetousness is a common problem.

Lesson no. 2: Take covetousness seriously

Now, we have established that covetousness is a common problem. However, it is not a simple problem, but it is a problem that we must take seriously.

Notice the serious warning of Jesus in verse 15:

15 And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

Christ warned us by saying that we must take heed.

According to Strong’s Dictionary, the word take heed here came from the Greek word, “Horao.” 

Horao means:

Properly to stare at, that is, (by implication) to discern clearly (physically or mentally); by extension to attend to; by Hebraism to experience; passively to appear: – behold, perceive, see, take heed.

So, we must discern the things that may lead to covetousness and be alert to its early signs of taking root in our hearts.

We must always be on guard against the danger of covetousness.

Becoming Christians

Christ didn’t simply say take heed. 

It is not enough.

Thus, he added, “Beware!” This word came from the Greek word “phulassō.”

Phulasso expresses the idea of isolation; to watch, that is, be on guard (literally or figuratively); by implication to preserve. obey, avoid: – beware, keep (self), observe, save.

Remember when you see signage, “Beware of dogs.” 

It means that you have to be alert. You should move with caution. You can’t simply proceed without looking around and checking for dogs.

That’s the same level of alertness we should have when it comes to covetousness.

We must constantly be on guard!

We must look into every situation and be alert. We must realize that at any time, we might be guilty of covetousness.

When we see that we are feeling envious and covetous, we must stop it right there and then. We must not dwell on it, but rather we must overcome it.

Lesson no. 3: Don’t place your value on material possession

After giving the warning that we must be on guard against covetousness, Christ gave important and powerful teaching.

He said:

15 And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” (Luke 12:15)

He gave us the reason why we must avoid covetousness at all costs.

The reason?

Our life is not found in the material wealth that we possess.

Christ was saying that we must NOT base the quality of our life on material wealth. Our life should not depend on these things. We must not let material wealth dictate whether we will be happy or not.

We must remember that while material wealth can help us achieve the goals in our lives, it should not be the ultimate goal. It should only be a TOOL for us to achieve the goal of being part of God’s Kingdom.

Don’t define your life by how much you have

It’s quite interesting how this world measures a person’s worth. They would look at how much money he has, how big his house is, how many properties they have.

For God, that’s how it works. That’s not where your value lies. God doesn’t look at the amount of possession that you have. He is looking at your heart, how rich you are in His work.

Covetousness creates the illusion that true happiness is found in material wealth. It deceives us that once we get what we want, we will be satisfied.

The truth is that the satisfaction we get from material wealth and riches is only temporary. We have this deep yearning and longing in us that no material wealth can ever assuage.

That yearning can only be satisfied with God’s unending love, grace, and mercy.

Lesson no. 4: Our blessings come from the Almighty

Now, we come to the parable of the rich fool.

The very first thing we must all learn here is to recognize the true Source of our blessings. 

That’s what the rich fool failed to recognize and that’s why he became a fool.

We read in Luke 12:16:

16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The GROUND of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.”

Notice, who or what yielded plentiful crops? 

It wasn’t the rich man, but it was the ground

If God didn’t create the Earth, there’s no ground.

If there’s no ground, there will be no harvest.

If there’s no harvest, the foolish rich man would not have a lot of possession. 

The problem with a covetous man who is possessed by his possession is that he thinks he owns everything that he has. 

He tells himself:

  • “Since it is my ground, then it is I who made it flourish.”
  • “Since it is my brain, then it is I who is intelligent.” 
  • “Since it is my hands, then it is I who is skillful.” 
  • “Since it is my feet, then it is I who directs my path.”

Do you now begin to see the great danger of covetousness? We tend to forget that it was Yahweh who gave us the power to acquire wealth.

We read in Deuteronomy 8:18:

18 “And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

Notice, brethren, that the rich fool doesn’t even know that he was a fool! 

In the same manner, we can be a fool without even knowing it if we are covetous.

One of the best ways for you to overcome covetousness is to remember that God is the Source of your blessings. 

We must recognize that it is not through our strength and abilities that we have acquired the blessings that we have.

When we do this, we will be more grateful and divert our focus from ourselves to God and others.

Lesson no. 5: Choose to be grateful

We have seen that the rich fool in the parable received tremendous blessings from God through the ground.

Did this make the rich man happy? Did it make him grateful?

No.

Instead, we see that the man even became problematic about what he must do with the overflowing harvest that he reaped.

We read in Luke 12:16-17:

16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?

That’s one of the true marks of a covetous man. Instead of being thankful, he thought of the blessing as a problem he must solve.

In this, we now discover that another way to overcome covetousness is to be grateful.

Lesson no. 6: Choose to be selfless

Selfishness is another sign of a covetous man.

We read that instead of being joyful, the rich man became problematic about what he should do with the blessings he received.

Did he think of others? Did he think of sharing his blessings?

No, instead, we read in Luke 12:18-19:

18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’ 

Can you see how many “I’s” and “My’s” are in those verses?

That’s the way a covetous man thinks. He doesn’t think of others. It’s always, “I, me, and myself.”

If you are going to overcome covetousness, you must be selfless.

You must choose to be a blessing to others.

Your main motivation to become rich should be so that God can use you as a channel to also bless others.

You need to ask God to make you a blessing not only for yourself but for others.

Lesson no. 7: True security is found in God

When a person is covetous, he relies on his security in material possessions.

However, that’s something we must learn from the parable of the rich fool.

the parable of the rich fool how we don't own our life
We must always be ready when our time is up.

We read what happened to him in Luke 12:18-20:

18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ 

Isn’t this a common problem for many people today?

We think that if only we have enough money in the bank, if only we have a bigger house, if only we live in a safer place, if only we have more security guards, if only, if only…

However, once we acquire all these things, we suddenly get sick or even die. We haven’t got the chance to enjoy the things that we thought would give us happiness.

The rich fool planned only for himself. He thought that to be truly secured in this world, he must have enough supplies, enough riches, enough possessions.

That’s not how it works.

We must realize that our life is in the hands of God.

All of us don’t have a guarantee if we are going to still be alive tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year.

We must live our lives in such a way that we are always ready for Christ’s second coming.

When we have this mindset, we don’t worry too much about coveting other people’s possessions.

When we know that our security is in the hands of God, we can avoid the danger of holding on to material possessions too much.

Remember that we can never be truly secure until and unless we are secure in God.

Lesson no. 8: True richness is found in God

Christ ended the parable of the rich fool by saying in Luke 12:13-21:

21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

Christ’s definition of richness is not the same as how this world defines richness.

For Yahshua, the truly rich people are the people who make God their top priority in life.

 They are the people who dedicate their lives to doing the work of God, fulfilling God’s purposes in their lives, and following His will.

You see, there’s nothing wrong with having a dream, seeking to have a more comfortable life, and doing your best at your work.

All these are good.

However, the moment you let material possession possess you, you become covetous and that’s where the danger lies.

The Scripture gives us a dire warning against covetousness.

Covetousness can do a lot of things.

  • It can deceive you.
  • It can make you bitter, sour, and depressed.
  • It can make you selfish.
  • It can make you forget Yahweh.

That’s why it is a must that we do our best to accumulate richness not in this world, but God.

We read in Matthew 6:19-21:

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 

Here’s the good news:

When we aim to lay up treasures in heaven, it is secured.

No one can take it away from us.

It can never be stolen nor be corrupted.

That’s the beauty of having treasures in heaven.

So, if you want to be truly rich, you need to remember Matthew 6:33:

33 But seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Learn the best Parable of the Rich Fool Bible Study Lessons

These are just some of the best lessons from the parable of the rich fool.

Let’s always remember that our possessions are there as a tool to help us enter God’s Kingdom. It is never the goal itself.

Most importantly, let’s do our best to overcome covetousness. We must strive to be selfless and seek to be a blessing to others.

How about you, what is the parable of the rich fool moral lesson did you learn? Share your thoughts below.


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