The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat hanging in your closet belongs to the one who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the one who has no shoes; the money which you put into the bank belongs to the poor. You do wrong to everyone you could help but fail to help. — Basil of Caesarea (c.330–c.379), ‘On Greed’, a sermon on the Parable of the Rich Fool
Luke’s Gospel emphasises in several places that riches can get in the way of being a disciple of Jesus. Today, Luke illustrates this with a parable of a rich man, a farmer.
A good farmer, a successful farmer. A farmer whose barns couldn’t hold everything he had grown—so he decided that he needed to build bigger barns.
What other option was there?
There was no other option in the limited world that this farmer lived in. It’s a good exercise to look at how many time the words ‘I’ and ‘my’ appear in the parable:
There was once a rich man who had land which bore good crops. He began to think to himself, ‘I don’t have a place to keep all my crops. What can I do? This is what I will do,’ he told himself; ‘I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, where I will store the grain and all my other goods. Then I will say to myself, Lucky man! You have all the good things you need for many years. Take life easy, eat, drink, and enjoy yourself!’
Who figures in this man’s life? No one but him. There’s no one else. He only thinks of himself, and he even talks only to himself!