Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’
“So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” — Luke 12:13-21
Christ said that it is foolish simply to build bigger barns in this world. I work in one of the richest areas in the whole of Europe, possibly the world – the City of London. People here are building huge, gigantic, massive ‘barns’ out of their recent bonuses right now: over 4000 people in The City are said to have earned over £1,000,000 just in bonuses this last year. And yet happiness and contentment are not noticeably on the increase because of it, as even secular economists like Richard Layard (see his recent book Happiness: Lesons from a new science) have noted. If anything, people are more miserable because someone else is obviously earning more than them! And there are still too few who have any idea about the coming Final Audit when their souls will be required of them.
God said to the rich man in the parable: “You fool!” A more poetic reflection on this is provided by 17th century poet Thomas Traherne in his masterpiece The Apostacy: