Our Lord told us a parable about a rich man whose “land produced a bountiful harvest.” His story has meaning for me, because of the dozen years when I lived with Korean farming people whose lives were hinged on their harvests.
Our church there had no Sunday collections, but the people supported their parish by giving a tithe of their rice harvest in springtime.
For these farmers, after the previous year’s store of rice and barley had run low at New Years, there were very thin evening meals until the harvest in late April.
But then, with the harvest there came weddings and partying of every kind.
In Our Lord’s parable, the rich man's added wealth had him so busy tearing down barns and building new ones, that he had to miss out on the enjoyments of harvest time. Then, in the middle of his tearing down and building, he died.
God spoke to him, saying, “You fool!”
What made him a fool was that he let his intoxication with building up wealth cheat him out of the joy that even the poorest people had a share of at harvest time.
The other day I was having a conversation with a man who was rapidly expanding his businesses, and when I asked him about his children, all he had to say was that their education was eating up his money. I suspected that with him as well, that intoxication with building up wealth was cheating him out of ordinary joys.