The Man Who Forgot God
THERE was a man who came to see Jesus one day. He knew that Jesus was very wise. He said to Jesus: ‘Teacher, tell my brother to give me some of the things he has.’ The man thought he had a right to some of those things.
If you were Jesus, what would you have said?— Jesus saw that the man had a problem. But the problem was not that he needed what his brother had. The man’s problem was that he did not know what was truly important in life.
So Jesus told him a story. It was about a man who forgot God. Would you like to hear it?—
A certain man was very rich. He owned lands and barns. The crops that he planted grew very well. He did not have room in his barns to store all the crops. What was he going to do?
The rich man said to himself: ‘I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I will store my crops and all my good things in these new barns.’
The rich man thought that this was the wise thing to do. He thought that he was very smart to store up many things. He said to himself: ‘I have many good things stored up. They will last me for many years. So now I can take it easy. I will eat, drink and enjoy myself.’
But there was something wrong with the rich man’s thinking. What was it?— He was thinking only about himself and his own pleasure. But he forgot God.
So God spoke to the rich man. He told him: ‘You foolish man. You are going to die tonight. Then who will have the things that you stored up?’
Could that rich man use those things after he died?— No; someone else would get them. Jesus said: “So it goes with the man that lays up treasure for himself but is not rich toward God.”—Luke 12:13-21.
You do not want to be like that rich man, do you?— His main purpose in life was the getting of material things. That was his mistake. He always wanted more.
Many people are like that rich man. They always want more. But this can lead to big problems.
For example, you have toys, don’t you?— What are some of the toys that you have? Tell me.—
What if one of your friends has a model truck, or a doll or some other toy that you don’t have? Would it be right for you to try to get it away from him?—
There may be times when a toy seems very important. But what happens to it after a while?— It gets old. It may fall apart, and then we do not even want it anymore. Really, you have something that is much more precious than toys. Do you know what that is?— It is your life. And your life depends on doing what pleases God, doesn’t it?— So don’t be like that foolish rich man.
It is not only children who do things like that rich man. A lot of grown-ups do too. Some of them always want more than they have. They may have food for the day, clothing to wear and a place to live. But they want more. They want lots of clothes. And they want bigger houses. These things cost money. So they work hard to get lots of money. And the more money they get, the more they want.
Some grown-ups become so busy trying to get money that they have no time to be with their family. And they have no time for God. Can their money keep them alive?— No; only God can do that. Can they use their money after they die?— No; because the dead are not able to do anything at all.
Does that mean that it is wrong to have money?— No. We can buy food with it. We buy clothing with it. The Bible says that having money is a protection. But if we “love” money, then we are going to have trouble. We will be like that foolish rich man who stored up treasures for himself and was not rich toward God.—Ecclesiastes 7:12.
The Great Teacher said that the rich man was foolish because he was not “rich toward God.” What does it mean to be “rich toward God”?— It means to put God first in our lives. Some people say that they believe in God. They may even read from the Bible once in a while. And they think that is enough. But are they really “rich” toward God?—
A person who is rich has more than a little bit. He has much. If he is “rich toward God,” his life is filled with lots of thoughts about God. He enjoys talking about God often. He is always doing the things that God tells him to do. And he spends his time with people who love God.
Is that the kind of people we are? Are we “rich toward God”?— If we really learn from the Great Teacher, we will be.