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The Parable of
THE RICH FOOL
Frank had always been a good storyteller. As far back as he could remember, he would make up tales for every occasion. Not only that, but he also had an exceptional memory. He could recall the details of his creations without ever having to write anything down. In the long run, that worked against him, because he never bothered to put anything down in print. He just made up more and more stories and kept them all in his head. Like a computer, he could access his stories readily for any occasion. Birthdays, holidays, first day of school, vacation, broken leg, animals, you name it; he had a story about it.
As a vocation, he chose electronics engineering. He worked for a large company in the electronic design department. All day long, he sat at his desk and worked on facts, figures, equations, and so on. It was a relief for him to come home to his family and play with his children. He was really just a big kid himself (at least, that’s what his wife always said.) His two favorite times of day were dinnertime and the children’s bedtime, because he had a captive audience who would give their full attention to his animated voice, and laugh and clap at the end of his tales. He made most of them up as he went along.
“Why don’t you write some of your stories down?” his wife would say.
“Who has time for that?” he would respond. “Besides, I have them all in my head; I don’t need to write them down.”
“Still”, his wife would persist, “you should write some of them down for the kids. We’ll have great-grandchildren some day who will never know any of your stories.”
“When I have time”, would be his response.
They had this discussion frequently.
In the 1950’s, Frank would say, “Wait until we get a typewriter, then I’ll write my stories down.”
In the 1960’s, when they got a fancy typewriter, he’d say, “Wait until we get a tape recorder.”
In the 1970’s, when they got a fancy tape recorder, he’d say, “Wait until we get a cassette recorder.”
In the 1980’s, when they got a fancy cassette recorder, he’d say, “Wait until we get a video camera.”
In the 1990’s, when they got a fancy camcorder, he’d say, “Wait until we get a computer.”
When they got a fancy computer, he said, “Wait until I retire; then I’ll have time.” When he gained in seniority at work, he was given fewer tough assignments, and more free time. Several times, he made an effort to make some sort of a record of his stories, but as soon as he sat down, he became overwhelmed at the number of stories in his head. He didn’t know where to start, and besides, he’s rather think up new ones. He rarely told the same story twice. So, instead of starting on a project of recording his narratives, he would idle away his time, relaxing in front of the TV.
One night, though, he came home with a big present for himself. It was a computer that would type and print, merely from the sound of his voice.
“This”, he told his wife, “is what I needed all along for my stories. I don’t think I’ll bother having it write my old stories, but I’ll use it for all my new stories, from now on.”
He spent the evening reading the instructions on the program and getting it set up properly. By the time it was ready, he felt unusually tired.
“I’m going to bed, Sweetheart”, he said with a yawn. “I’ll get started on this thing tomorrow.”
Unfortunately, tomorrow never came for Frank. He died during the night, and his stories died with him. His children remembered some of them, but by the end of their generation, his descendants wouldn’t know anything about their great-grandfather, except, of course, his name.
THE RICH FOOL (Luke 12:16-21)
“The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?’ And he said,’ This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater, and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years, take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry.’
But God said unto him, ‘You fool, this night your soul shall be required of you. Then whose shall those things be, which you have provided?’
So is he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”