Joyce Meyer - Parable of the Rich Young Fool - Part 1
Tonight, I want to talk to you about The Parable Of The Rich, Young Fool, and that parable is actually repeated in at least three of the gospels. And so, I believe when we see something over and over, it's very important. I wanna start by sharing a scripture with you that has nothing to do with what I'm gonna teach on tonight, but I felt like that God wanted me to start sharing this before I share some of my messages just to make sure that we understand the main thing that we all are supposed to be doing with our life. 2 Corinthians 5:20 says that "We are Christ's ambassadors". That means that we're his representative. And that "God is making his appeal through us," as his "Personal representatives".
So, just get that. You, out in the world, are a personal representative of Christ, and he is appealing, or trying to appeal to people, through you to let him into their life. So it says, "We beg you for his sake to lay hold of the divine favor now being offered to you and be reconciled to God". Before you have any other ministry, we all have two ministries. We're called as intercessors and we're called to, as reconcilers to help reconcile or bring people back into relationship with God. And so, I just want to encourage you, don't ever let yourself get too focused on always letting all your energy go toward getting what you want because you're gonna see in this parable tonight that you can have everything you think you want right now and still be one of the most miserable people on the face of the earth. Our joy, our peace is not found in what we own, our investment portfolio, having our own office with our name on the door, being in the right social group. It can only come from having right relationship with God and being in his will.
If there's anything that I have focused on trying to get across to people is that the world is in such a desperate condition, and we were chosen for the time that we live in. You were chosen to be alive in this time, and God has a purpose for you. And you may not all be pulpit preachers, but your life is a sermon and the main reason why more people are not following Christ and the main reason why Christians are made fun of, and ignored, and there's less and less people going to church now than ever, is not because there's something wrong with God, there's something wrong with the way we represent him. Amen? And this is something that every one of us has a responsibility to do. Please do not put a bumper sticker on your car and hang a cross around your neck if you are not going to at least make a good effort to get out there and act like you believe Jesus would want you to act, amen?
All right. Luke 12, beginning in verse 13, "Someone from the crowd said to him, master, order my brother to divide the inheritance and share it with me". Now, it's kind of interesting that, I mean, if you had Jesus for just a moment and you could ask for one thing, what we would ask for at that time reveals a world of knowledge about us and our character. So, he wanted more money and apparently his brother had something that he didn't have, and he wanted Jesus to get involved in making the brother divide it with him. But Jesus said, "Man, who has appointed me a judge or umpire or a divider over you"? He was basically saying, wasn't saying not that he couldn't do that or he wasn't even saying whether or not the young man should have had part of the inheritance, but what he was really saying is, "That's not my mission. I'm not here to give you everything you want. There's something more important going on". "And he said to them, guard yourselves and keep free from all covetousness which is (the immoderate desire for wealth, the greedy longings to have more): for a man's life does not consist in and is not derived from possessing overflowing abundance or that which is over and above his needs".
Now, I want to stop, and I'll probably have to stop often in this message because when you start telling people that their possessions are not the most, should not be the most important thing to them, people automatically start getting concerned that, you know, you're gonna tell them and they're never gonna have anything. And I personally believe that God wants us to live an abundant life. You can't read the Bible and not believe that. I believe that he wants us to have our needs met, but I don't believe that he wants any Christian to have more than what they can handle and still keep him first in their life. And no matter how little you have now, if you're not managing what you have well now, you won't manage more well. It's a fallacy to think, "If I had a million dollars, I'd give it to the gospel".
Well, if you have ten and you won't give any of that, then you wouldn't give any of your million either, I can tell you that. "He who is faithful over a little will be made ruler over much". But if you're not faithful over the little bit that you have, chances are you'll never have anymore but even if you did, you wouldn't treat it any differently than when you have a lot. We see the story in the Bible that we call the widow's mite, and it's so amazing that was one of the stories that the Holy Spirit decided needed to be in there and stay in there. And so, here this little woman, who gave much less than what we would see as a penny now, is world famous and talked about everywhere and it wasn't because she gave a lot. It was because she gave all that she had, and there were people there who gave more in dollars but what they gave didn't cost them anything.
See, if you got a lot of money and you throw 20, 30, 40 dollars in the offering, then it didn't cost you anything. It didn't touch you. But, you know, if you've only got ten and you give two or one, then that probably maybe means you might have to not do something else that you want to do that week. Money is a huge test and I believe that we are tested two ways concerning money. I think we have to pass the test of how we behave when we don't have any and how we behave when we have a lot, amen? And if we don't behave well when we don't have any, chances are we'll never even get the opportunity to behave well when we have a lot. But there are people the world over who start out right. They have good intentions. They're good people. They're doing the right thing, but this greedy thing can get a hold of you and it can change you and turn you into something that you never thought that you would want to be. And greed is basically a spirit that always says, "More, more".
Some of you right now, and I would have to say the same thing about myself, you have more right now than you ever thought you might have ever had in your whole life. God has taken you further in business than you could have imagined. He's promoted you. I mean all the problems that we have here in this country are, not in the country, but in your lives, they're what my son calls first-world problems. You know, you don't need to get depressed if your air conditioner goes out, you can't get it fixed for two weeks. That's a first-world problem, amen? And we are so used to convenience and so used to comfort that really in a way, it's hurting us because it's making us weak, and wimpy, and we give up too easy, and we don't know how to resist anything, or stand up against anything. And to be honest, it's getting worse every day that we live. Some of us who have been around a while, we still see both sides of this, but I feel for kids today and what they're gonna face if we don't get busy giving them more and more and more truth, amen?
And so, greed is a problem and it's something that if you would go and read in revelation or some of the other places like when Jesus talked about things that would keep people out of heaven, right in the middle of murder, and lies, and adultery, you'll find greed. So, it's not just, you know? There's a lot of sins that have become acceptable today. It's like, you know, they're not the biggies, but they're biggies to God. And my personal opinion is that we need, along with all the teaching about God loving us, and his mercy, and his grace, and his goodness, and having our prayers answered, I think we need every once in a while, a little Ole Hell, Fire, and Brimstone. You know, we need to have, I've been purposely listening to teachings on the fear of God because it's something that people just don't, you don't hear it preached much. You don't, people don't like that kind of stuff but someday, we are all going to stand before God and give an account of our life.
Every man will stand before God and give an account of his life. And I mean, I hope that I have something to say other than, "I spent my whole life wanting more and more and more and more, and never being content, and being selfish, and self-centered". And the only thing I know about greed, and I don't care who you are, you gotta fight it. And the best way that I know to fight it is be a radical, generous giver. And I'm not talking about just in the offering plate at church. I'm talking about in every area of your life, giving of your time, giving of yourself, giving of your prayers, giving of your encouragement, giving of your compliments, yes, giving of your money.
A few years ago, God said something to me that I didn't care too much for and you probably won't care too much for it when I say it to you, but I love to share things with you that God has given me for my life. I think it's only right to share these things. And I was praying for somebody for God to do something for them that they needed and this is what he said to me. "Why don't you stop asking me to do things for people that you could do and just don't want to"? That's one of those Selah, pause and calmly think about that. We want God to fix it because we don't want it to inconvenience us or to cost us any, but we're hurting ourselves. The more that we float along with the rest of the world, the more we're hurting ourselves. Don't let yourself become selfish and self-centered, and self-absorbed, and just want more and more and more. Have a nice life but help hurting people, amen? And if you don't clap loud tonight, I'm gonna preach three hours.
All right, now, you see, so he said to them, "Guard yourselves and keep free from all covetousness, (the immoderate desire for wealth, the greedy longings to have more): for a man's life does not consist in and is not derived from possessing overflowing abundance". Then he told them a parable. See, Jesus wanted to make this point so he told them a parable and he said, "The land of a rich man was fertile and yielded plenty. And he considered and debated within himself". Now, I want you to notice that he didn't pray about this. He had a conversation with himself. "What shall I do? I have no place [in which] to gather together my harvest". So, he had more than he knew what to do with. He had so much he didn't even have a place to put it, and he didn't ask God what he should do with it. He didn't even consider being a blessing to somebody else, but he had a meeting with himself and decided what he was gonna do with all this stuff that he had.
So, he said, and I've drawn circles around every place where he said, "I will". "He said, 'i will do this: I will pull down my storehouses and I will build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and produce and my goods. And I will say to my soul, you have many good things laid up, [enough] for many years. Take it easy: eat, drink, and enjoy yourself'". Well, Jesus said, "'you fool'". And you know what a fool is? A fool is somebody who has entirely missed the point of life. That's one of the definitions of a fool, they have entirely missed the point of life. That's why I started with 2 Corinthians 5:20 because I want you to know that the point of everything else that I teach, other than you having a relationship with Christ and getting to know him, is to get out there and represent him to somebody else who doesn't know him, yet. Otherwise there's no point in any of this.
If all we're gonna do is just preach, and tell everybody how wonderful they are, and how much God loves them and, you know, how much God wants them to have, and he wants to promote you and he wants to, you know, give you, give you, give you, give you. And I can get into that trap. We can all get into that trap. And I'm telling you, greed is a monster and it can take hold of you, and it's possible to have very little and be more generous with it than it is sometimes when you have more. There's just something about it. Greed is an evil spirit that cries out, "More, more, more". He said, "'You fool! This very night [the messengers of God] will demand your soul of you: and all the things that you have prepared, whose will they be then'"?
You know, the Bible says a good man "Leaves an inheritance to his children's children". It's kind of interesting to me, he doesn't even say, "Your children," it says, "To your children's children," and, you know, I think if things are working right in our life, we will live so long that our children will already be like getting old, and they'll already have all their own money from the time that they've spent working and so it actually ends up going to your grandchildren. But let me tell you something, you can work your whole life and do all you can to save as much as you can, so many people work all their life to save for retirement. They want to make sure that they have no concerns when they retire and that's wise.
You want to prepare for the future, but a lot of people do all that and then they retire and die a year later. And so, you want to enjoy some of what you've got while you're alive to enjoy it. And then in here and also in Ecclesiastes, the point is made very clearly, you can work your whole life and have all this stuff to leave to somebody else, but you don't have any idea what they're gonna do with it. So, there's a lot more to life than just trying to store stuff up, and build bigger barns, and see how much you can have so you can feel comfortable. If we really believe the word, you cannot outgive God and the more you give, the more treasure you will have stored up in heaven.