THE GOSPEL WAY Articles | Videos | Invitations | Courses / Commentaries

Home > Collection Talks

The Foolish Farmer: Lessons in Covetousness

The foolish farmer teaches the danger of covetousnessJesus taught important lessons about the danger of covetousness and over emphasizing material possessions.

Luke 12:15-21 – To illustrate covetousness, Jesus told a parable about a rich farmer.

The man had such bountiful crops that he did not have room to store them all. He decided to build bigger barns and then take his ease, eat, drink, and be merry for many years. But instead, he died that night. What mistakes did this man make?

There was nothing wrong with having good crops. There was nothing inherently wrong with being rich. It was not wrong to provide for his needs. So what was wrong?

He Expressed No Appreciation to God for His Blessings.

He acknowledged that he had bountiful crops. But at no point did he acknowledge God as the source of his prosperity. He never expressed thanks or honored God in any way.

James 1:17 – Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 – In everything give thanks.

But the rich farmer never acknowledged God.

He Gave No Thought to Using His Blessings for Others.

Verse 19 – He said to himself , “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” (verse 19) He just stored his bounty and planned to use it for himself. We would say he hoarded it.

Proverbs 11:24 – There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty.

God gives us blessings for a purpose. They are not just for our selfish enjoyment. He expects us to share to meet the needs of others and to support the spread of the gospel.

He Failed to Consider the Uncertainty of Life.

He planned to use his goods to enjoy life for many years. But God said his soul would be required of him that very night (verses 19,20).

James 4:14,15 – You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”

He Failed to Consider His Responsibility to Serve God.

Verse 21 – He laid up treasure for himself but was not rich toward God.

At no point in the story did he consider any reason to use his blessings for anyone but himself. He asked, “What should I do?” He said, “I will do this. I will build greater barns and I will store my crops and my goods.” He said, “I have goods for many years. I will say to my soul to eat drink and be merry.”

Matthew 6:19,20 – Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.


Jesus used this man to illustrate covetousness. Many of us think a covetous person is a bitter, nasty miser like Scrooge. But there is no evidence this farmer was bitter or nasty. He simply was not concerned about using what he received to honor God or help other people.

Do we realize that we too can be covetous simply by not using what God gives us to honor Him and help accomplish His work? So how concerned are we about giving God thanks for the blessings we receive? How generous are we in supporting the work of the church, supporting gospel preaching, and helping people around us?

(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 2020;

Local churches and individuals may, within limits, distribute this Bible study guide for free, but not for sale.  Web sites may link to this page but not reproduce it. Click here for more information about our copyright guidelines.

For a complete list of Bible articles and study materials by the author please visit these web sites: and - Return to the Gospel Way home page.

Please bookmark our site in your favorites.


Subscribe to our free Bible study email lists. E-mail us at the Gospel Way Gospelway icon

We welcome links to us from other sites : - The Gospel Way: Free Bible Study Materials & Guides

See our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) if you have questions about our site.

Scripture quotations are generally from the New King James Version (NKJV), copyright 1982, 1988 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. used by permission. All rights reserved.

Hit-meter: 51508832