The Man Who Forgot God
An article specially designed for parents to read with their children
DO YOU know anyone who has things that you would like to have? I am sure you do. It is common to want things that other persons have.
But some people try to take things away from others. Do you know boys or girls who do this? Do you think they are good playmates? Or would you rather play with other children?
I would like to tell you about a man who tried to get things away from someone else. He came to talk to Jesus one day. He wanted Jesus to help him to get some of the things that his brother had. The man thought that he had a right to them.
But what do you think? Was it loving for that man to try to get the things his brother had? Or should he just have been glad that he had a brother? Some persons don’t even have a brother.
If you were Jesus, what would you have said to the man? Jesus told him to watch out. Jesus knew that there was something with his thinking. Do you know what it was?
Well, think about it. What are the most important things in life? Are they nice toys or new clothes? No; they are not. The things that a person can buy with money cannot give him life, can they? There is something that is much more important. And this is the lesson that Jesus wanted to teach.
So Jesus told a story. It is about a man who forgot God. Would you like to hear it?
The 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 mistake was that he made the gathering of material things the main purpose of his life. He always wanted more. But he was not “rich toward God.”
What does it mean to be “rich toward God”? A person who is “rich toward God” is one who thinks first about God. He puts the doing of God’s will first in his life. But the man who forgot God did not do this. So what happened to him? He lost everything.
Now, stop and think. What do you put first in your life? When it is time for us to discuss the Bible together, is that really what you want to do most of all? Or are there times when you would rather play with your toys instead? To be “rich toward God” we need to put God first.
There is something else that can help us to see what we put first. For example, when your father comes home, what is the first thing you think of? Do you think first how good it is to see him? Or do you think about material things? Do you wonder, ‘What has he brought me’?
Some children always want their father to buy things for them. But would it not be better to be thankful that they have a father? There are children who do not even have a father or mother who lives with them.
You may have a friend that has a car, a doll or other nice toys. Would it be right to think that you should have their toys? Jesus said to watch out that we do not covet or desire to have what others have.
A person that covets wants very much to have what someone else has. He desires with all his heart to have these things. He thinks about them much of the time. He may even try to figure out ways to get these things away from the other person. But is he remembering God? What do you think? Really, he has forgotten God, because God does not want us to covet. He says that we should love our neighbor, not take things away from him.
A toy may be nice to have. But, really, how important is it? What happens to it after a while? It gets old. It may fall apart, and then we do not even want it anymore.
So what is better? Is it better to be “rich toward God”? Or is it better to own many things that money can buy? Will you die if you don’t have a certain toy? No; a toy cannot keep you alive for even one day. But if you trust in God he can give you eternal life. So it is important not to forget God as the rich man did.
Jesus Christ never forgot his Father in heaven. He always put the doing of God’s will first. He did not try to make a lot of money. He did not own many material things.
But Jesus was happy. He was “rich toward God.” So Jehovah took care of Jesus. God gave him the reward of living forever. Do you want to be like Jesus?
Jehovah God will love you if you are, and so will I. So be like Jesus, and never become like that rich man who forgot God.