TEXT: LUKE 12:13-21 (Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2 :18-26; Colossians 3:1-11)

A FOOL AND HIS MONEY ARE SOON PARTED
Rev. Gary Gehlbach


In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

      There is an old English proverb that goes like this – ‘A fool and his money are soon parted.’ Today’s Gospel may be the background behind this proverb, when our Lord says to the rich man, Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided? The rich man was impressed by his own riches and possessions, but the Lord separated the man from his wealth in a mere moment, in the twinkling of an eye.

TEXT: LUKE 12:13-21 (Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2 :18-26; Colossians 3:1-11)

A FOOL AND HIS MONEY ARE SOON PARTED
Rev. Gary Gehlbach

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

      There is an old English proverb that goes like this – ‘A fool and his money are soon parted.’ Today’s Gospel may be the background behind this proverb, when our Lord says to the rich man, Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided? The rich man was impressed by his own riches and possessions, but the Lord separated the man from his wealth in a mere moment, in the twinkling of an eye.


      Today’s Gospel begins with someone asking Jesus, Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me. This statement should not surprise us. Indeed, as it is written in Ecclesiastes: That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun (Eccl 1:9). Mankind has been fighting over inheritances and birth rights since the fall of man into sin.  Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Absalom, Solomon are just a few examples from the pages of Scripture which reveal this on-going struggle of mankind for the inheritance. 

      Today’s Gospel should not be used to condemn wealth or rich people. This parable is not about evils of money. Money is not the root of all evil, but, as St. Paul writes, The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness (1 Tim 6:10). In truth, Abraham was a rich man, Job was a rich man, and David was a rich man. These men amassed great fortunes in their time.

      Money, in itself, is not evil. Likewise, houses, cars, pen and paper, guns, alcohol, and other such objects are not evil in themselves. The difference between men and possessions is revealed in today’s Gospel. The rich man said to his soul, Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry. Money, houses, cars, pen and paper, guns, and alcohol are inanimate objects. They have no soul, no life. It is the soul of man which distinguishes you from all other things on earth.

      It is man and his corrupted soul which is the source of evil in this world. It is man who takes money and does evil or good with it. It is man who takes houses and cars and makes use of them for evil or good. It is in the hand of man that pen and paper, guns, and alcohol can be used for good or evil purposes. Our Lord said, Out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies (Mt 15:19; Mk 7:21).

      The focus of today’s parable is the heart of this certain rich man which is no different from our hearts. What did this man fear, love, and trust the most? In the Small Catechism, you learned, You shall have no other gods. What does this mean? We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things. 

      Listen again, the rich man’s word to his soul – Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry. Now contrast his words spoken within himself to what you have been taught to confess in the meaning of the First Article of the Apostles’ Creed: I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them. He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life.

      The rich man does not acknowledge that all that is good comes from God. He believes that by his own efforts he acquired and will retain all that he possesses. He fears, loves, and trusts in his many things and not in God. This is why God calls the man a fool.

      As the Psalmist has written, The fool says in his heart there is no god (Ps 14:1; 53:1). Foolishness is connected to unbelief. This is interesting in our modern world. Those who oppose Christ and His Gospel consider themselves wise and Christians foolish. If you believe in the six-day creation of the world, the world considers you foolish. If you believe that babies in the womb are people, the world considers you foolish. If you believe that your God took on human flesh and died on the cross for yours, and was raised from the dead on the third day, the world considers you foolish. But in truth, they are the fools because they neither heed nor believe God’s Word. As St. Paul writes, Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is (Eph 5:17).

      Notice that this rich man speaks within himself. Indeed, this is the source of your sin, from within. In contrast, it is likely that his visible works and audible words portrayed something quite different than what he spoke within. His neighbors may have considered him honorable, noble, generous, and kind, but this parable reveals the depth of his sin.

      How do I know this? I know this for the same reason you know this –  from personal experience. I know what I say and do; AND I know what I think. What is seen on the outside does not accurately reflect what is going on within me. Likewise, you know what you say and do; AND you know what you think. What is seen on the outside does not accurately reflect what is going on within you.

      No one knows that thoughts of other people. Children only think their parents know what they are thinking. You see parents only know what their children are thinking because parents were once children and they know what they were thinking. Within each of us is that daily struggle of which Paul speaks, The good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I keep on doing (Rom 7:19). Who knows your and my inner thoughts?  Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from my secret sins (Ps 19:12). It is the Lord who knows.

      Our Lord was speaking not only to this rich man. He was speaking to you and to me. This parable is addressed to the covetous heart, whether is the man in the parable or yours or mine.

      Where is your treasure? Your treasure is where your heart is. Our Lord concludes the parable by saying, So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. By these words we all stand condemned because from our sinful natures we are not rich toward God, but seek comfort in the treasures of this world. This is where your heart is.

      In contrast, to you and me, there stands another who did not lay up treasure for himself, but found His life, breath, and being from the very Word of God.  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (Php 2:5-8).

      Christ Jesus did not lay up treasures for Himself, but was lifted up on the cross to suffer for your sins. Christ did not lay up treasure for Himself, but was laid in the tomb for you. Christ did not lay up treasure for Himself, but prepared a treasure for you – forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. That is the inheritance Christ has prepared for you.

      Where evil flow from your heart and my heart, righteousness flows from the heart of Christ.

      Christ laid down His life for you and was rich toward His Father. He depended upon His Father for everything that was good. As Satan attempted to turn Christ from His Father, Jesus said, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Mt 4:4). Christ believed that even His death was good because that is what God’s Word said.  And so He commended Himself to His Father, It is finished…Into Your hands, I commit my spirit (Jn 19:30; Lk 23:46)

      Now, you who lay in the poverty of your sin and death now share in the God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense. Christ is your brother, but He does not divide His inheritance with you. No, He gives His entire inheritance to you.

      Christ laid before you the treasures of heaven in your Baptism. In those waters, He cleansed you of all unrighteousness.  Christ lays before you the treasures of heaven, not money or credit cards, not gold or silver, but His holy precious body and blood in the Lord’s Supper. No treasure of earth can compare to the treasure of heaven, for that treasure is Christ Himself.

      He gives Himself to you. He has taken your filth, corruption, and sin into His flesh and died for them. Now that He has died you will live. He has taken all the vanities of your earthly life and given you only gift of value, His inheritance – forgiveness of sins, life, salvation. God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor 5:21).

      The only treasure that matters is the treasure God has given the world –  His Son, who laid down His life to forgive all your sins and give you a place in heaven. That is your inheritance.

      Listen now to words of the hymn ‘Lord, Thee, I love with all my heart’  which speak so beautifully of this treasure which now is yours in Christ Jesus.


      Lord, Thee I love with all my heart;
      I pray Thee ne'er from me depart,
      With tender mercies cheer me.
      Earth has no pleasure I would share,
      Yea, heaven itself were void and bare
      If Thou, Lord, wert not near me.
      And should my heart for sorrow break,
      My trust in Thee no one could shake.
      Thou art the Portion I have sought;
      Thy precious blood my soul has bought.
       Lord Jesus Christ, My God and Lord, my God and Lord,
       Forsake me not! I trust Thy Word.


      Yea, Lord, 'twas Thy rich bounty gave 
      My body, soul, and all I have 
      In this poor life of labor. 
      Lord, grant that I in every place 
      May glorify Thy lavish grace 
      And serve and help my neighbor. 
      Let no false doctrine me beguile 
      And Satan not my soul defile. 
      Give strength and patience unto me 
      To bear my cross and follow Thee. 
      Lord Jesus Christ, My God and Lord, my God and Lord, 
      In death Thy comfort still afford.


      Lord, let at last Thine angels come, 
      To Abram's bosom bear me home, 
      That I may die unfearing; 
      And in its narrow chamber keep 
      My body safe in peaceful sleep 
      Until Thy reappearing. 
      And then from death awaken me 
      That these mine eyes with joy may see, 
      O Son of God, Thy glorious face, 
      My Savior and my Fount of grace, 
      Lord Jesus Christ, My prayer attend, my prayer attend, 
      And I will praise Thee without end. (TLH 429 / LSB 706)



In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


May the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus until life everlasting. Amen.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a