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The Parable of the Rich Fool

Last evening the Life group which my wife, Leonora, and I host studied Jesus’ parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13-21) guided by The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups’s questionnaire for beginning groups.

LK 12:13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

LK 12:14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

LK 12:16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17 He thought to himself, `What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

LK 12:18 “Then he said, `This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ‘

LK 12:20 “But God said to him, `You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

LK 12:21 “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” (NIV; all Biblical quotations are from the NIV)

The questionnaire, which I’d distributed the previous week, was divided into two parts, Looking into the Scriptures and My Own Story. We shared our answers.

Looking into the Scriptures
This section contained these six multiple choice questions:
1. In verse 13, what was the man in the crowd really saying to Jesus?
2. In his reply, what was Jesus telling the crowd?
3. In the parable, what is Jesus saying about wealth and the pursuit of wealth?
4. Why is God’s response to the rich man so harsh?
5. What does it mean to be “rich toward God”?
6. If Jesus commented on our view of wealth today, what might he say?
The only question on which all of us chose the same answer was “In the parable, what is Jesus saying about wealth and the pursuit of wealth?” The answer which we chose was “wealth can make us self-indulgent.”

My Own Story
This section contained these four multiple-choice questions:
1. Where are your riches? (Name two)
2. What are three priorities for your life right now?
3. How would you like to be remembered?
4. Where would you like to leave your riches?
Again we chose different answers.

We also read Luke 12:22-34 and discussed how it related to the parable of the rich fool.

This footnote is about the Life group which Leonora and I host. The group meets at our house every Thursday evening. Regular attendees are the members of our family living at home (Leonora, me, and our son Robert), two other members of our church (Ray Noble and Russell Froude), and the three Church of the Latter Day Saints missionaries currently stationed here.

Leonora leads opening worship, Ray and I alternate in leading a study, Ray prays for our requests, and we have lunch. In Ray’s turn to lead the study, we view the story of a persecuted Christian contained on the Voice of the Martyrs’ “I am n” video and discuss it guided by the Voice of the Martyrs’ participant’s guide. In my turn to lead the study, we read a parable of Jesus and discuss it guided by the questionnaire on it contained in “The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups.” We are grateful to the Voice of Martyrs for providing Ray with material for us to do the study that he leads and to Serendipity House for giving me permission to reproduce material from “The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups” for use in our study.

We’re planning to have four more studies in 2016-17, two on the stories remaining in “I am n” and two on parables of Jesus. The two “I am n” stories focus on forgiveness and faithfulness; the earlier stories focussed on sacrifice, courage, joy, and perseverance. I haven’t decided which two of The Great Banquet, The Lost (Prodigal) Son, The Pharisee and the Tax Collector, and The Talents we’ll study; please let me know if you have a preference. We’re planning to have a closing supper as well.

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