The rich man thought he had time and lots of it. Life had been good and now his field had yielded a bumper crop. According to the narrative, his ground “brought forth plentifully” (Luke 12:16, KJV), or as the Amplified Bible tells us, his “land was very fertile and productive.” He had so much that he could not think of where to store the crops, so “he began thinking to himself, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place [large enough in which] to store my crops? . . . This is what I will do: I will tear down my storehouses and build larger ones, and I will store all my grain and my goods there” (vv. 17-18).
However, he wasn’t just content to build bigger storehouses. He was intent on enjoying the fine life and the fruits of his labour. As he reflected on his good fortune and his station in life, he continued his contemplation: “And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many good things stored up, [enough] for many years; rest and relax, eat, drink and be merry (celebrate continually)'” (v. 19). Some of us understand him perfectly. We worked hard, we have achieved much, we have a solid retirement plan, and now we are planning on enjoying what we have worked for. There is only one problem. Tomorrow and the days beyond that are not promised to any one of us. As the landowner perhaps smiled with contentment at the bright future he saw for himself, God stepped in and “said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own all the things you have prepared?’” (v.20). He was busy making plans but unknown to him, his time on earth was just about done. He who gave him life would call him to account that same night and without notice. He would not live long enough to enjoy what he had worked so hard to accomplish. He would not live to see the next day.
In some ways, we are in the same position. It is easy to take life for granted when God has blessed us with waking up every morning for as long as we have been on earth. We end our days with words like “See you tomorrow.” We put off things that need to be done because we expect to be around next week, next month, next year. We do this though we, as James wrote, “do not know [the least thing] about what may happen in your life tomorrow. [What is secure in your life?] You are merely a vapour [like a puff of smoke or a wisp of steam from a cooking pot] that is visible for a little while and then vanishes [into thin air]'” (James 4:14). Yes, we are here but only just for a moment.
Because tomorrow is not promised, today, the present moment, is not only a gift from God but it is also a good time to rearrange our priorities. God and a right relationship with Him through Christ must be first. Nothing else comes even close. “For what does it benefit a man to gain the whole world [with all its pleasures], and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul and eternal life [in God’s kingdom]?” (Mark 8:36, 37). Today you and I must choose and live wisely. We may not have as much time left as we think.