The Rich Man

The Rich ManText: Luke 12:16-21

Jesus often used parables in His teaching – using an everyday illustration to describe a spiritual truth. In this parable, Jesus described a rich man blessed with an abundant harvest. He made plans for how to deal with this prosperity, yet his life was cut short. As we study this, we are going to attempt to identify the MAIN point. Once we do that, we will see how we can apply this in our lives.


  • This parable was given in response to a request from one in the crowd (Luke 12:13-15) – someone wanted Jesus to tell his brother to divide the family inheritance with him; Jesus refused to get involved
  • Instead of fulfilling this request, He gave two warnings – first, He warned about the danger of greed; second, He warned about judging our lives by our possessions

Basic Point

  • In the parable, Jesus described a rich land owner who had an abundant harvest (Luke 12:16) – he needed to do something (Luke 12:17), so he decided to tear down his barns and build larger ones to store all of his grain and goods (Luke 12:18)
  • However, something happened that this man did not plan for – his soul was required of him (Luke 12:19-20); he thought he had more time, but he did not; he neglected his soul for earthly pursuits (Luke 12:21)
  • The main point of the parable is that our soul is more valuable than any earthly treasure


  • First of all, we need to have a proper understanding about his prosperity (Luke 12:16) – this was not a curse, but a blessing (cf. Ecclesiastes 5:19); God “richly supplies” (1 Timothy 6:17); he was blessed by God, but this did not motivate him to serve God
  • Also, his plan was not wrong in itself – remember the warnings that Jesus gave to introduce the parable; it would have been wrong if he was motivated by greed, but that’s not always the case; it would have been wrong if he thought of himself as better than others because of his prosperity
  • Jesus described a reality that many do not want to think about – death can come at any time; we are not invincible (Hebrews 9:27; James 4:14); at that point, whatever we gained in this life will be left to someone else (Ecclesiastes 2:18-19); despite his good fortune, planning, and industriousness, he was a fool because of his spiritual condition


  • Do not be envious of what others have – this is the source of conflicts/quarrels (James 4:1-2); instead, learn contentment (Philippians 4:11-12); rejoice with those who rejoice (Romans 12:15)
  • Do not judge your worth by your possessions – we have each been made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27); Jesus shed His blood for each one of us (1 Peter 1:18-19); to God, we are inherently valuable
  • Material prosperity is not wrong in itself – the love of money is the root of evil (1 Timothy 6:10), not money itself; in fact, there is much good we can do with it (1 Timothy 5:8; 6:17-18; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2)
  • Do not neglect your soul for anything in this life – even if we gain the world, it is not worth it (Matthew 16:26)
  • Always be prepared to meet the Lord – our life is a vapor (James 4:14); the Lord will return as a thief (2 Peter 3:10); always be ready (Matthew 24:36, 42)


  • It is easy to become distracted by the things of this life – either by what we have or by what others have
  • Let us not be conceited or envious – instead, recognize the value of the soul and prepare for eternity

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