01 November 2015
Is Davina McCall right to keep her fortune from her family?
The parable of the rich fool plays a pivotal role in my understanding of this subject. A rich landowner has banked the first century equivalent of the national lottery: a bumper harvest. It was such a huge crop that it more than surpassed his current need. Rather than behave like a flashy footballer or X Factor celebrity splashing out on ostentatious purchases and parties, this man invests into the future, making plans to protect and increase his savings. It’s the sort of financial strategy that most of us would applaud and even aspire to emulate. Yet God declares the man an idiot: “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?”
The main problem with this fool’s foresight is that it only extended to himself. This rich man had an ambition - a retirement plan that involved taking it easy, indulging, eating, drinking and being merry. But life is too short and too unpredictable to focus on ourselves. The fool had made plans for himself, but he was not going to enjoy any of what he had planned. His very life was going to be demanded of him by God.
The short answer to God’s question: “who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” in all likelihood, would be this man’s family, his wife and children no doubt. In light of his untimely death, he was unintentionally leaving a legacy to others, but strangely he is not commended for it, perhaps exactly because it was an accidental legacy. He had planned only to please himself, and was not seeking either the security of his family or the pleasure of God. He was self-absorbed rather than open-hearted and God-focused.
So how does this impact our approach be to legacy? The bottom line in Jesus’ parable “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” Is Davina McCall right to keep her fortune from her family? is that we should be “rich towards God.” God doesn’t’ need our money or our service, yet He chooses to use them as a means to draw us closer to Himself and joining with Him in demonstrating the character and transforming power of the coming kingdom of God.
Being rich towards God is not a one-off thing we do when we die. It is not just a choice about where we will invest our money after our demise. No, it’s a pattern of life lived by following in Jesus’ footsteps. We do this not in order to merit eternal life, but as a response to the generous and compassionate grace God has shown us. We are called now to evidence our salvation by living lives of generosity towards God by showing his grace and compassion to the lonely and the lost, the poor and the persecuted, the victims and the vulnerable.
Friends, our legacy lifestyle starts now. How we live on this planet and how we leave this planet are connected. Our present decision-making and future planning are to be marked by grace, compassion and generosity. This means we may have to make some changes. I certainly don’t want to come to the end of my life, only to meet God and be called a fool.