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Luke 12:19

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Much goods - Much property. Enough to last a long while, so that there is no need of anxiety or labor.

Take thine ease - Be free from care about the future. Have no anxiety about coming to want.

Eat, drink, and be merry - This was just the doctrine of the ancient Epicureans and atheists, and it is, alas! too often the doctrine of those who are rich. They think that all that is valuable in life is to eat, and drink, and be cheerful or merry. Hence, their chief anxiety is to obtain the “delicacies of the season “ - the luxuries of the world; to secure the productions of every clime at any expense, and to be distinguished for splendid repasts and a magnificent style of living. What a portion is this for an immortal soul! What folly to think that “all” that a man lives for is to satisfy his sensual appetites; to forget that he has an intellect to be cultivated, a heart to be purified, a soul to be saved!

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Christ's kingdom is spiritual, and not of this world. Christianity does not meddle with politics; it obliges all to do justly, but wordly dominion is not founded in grace. It does not encourage expectations of worldly advantages by religion. The rewards of Christ's disciples are of another nature. Covetousness is a sin we need constantly to be warned against; for happiness and comfort do not depend on the wealth of this world. The things of the world will not satisfy the desires of a soul. Here is a parable, which shows the folly of carnal worldling while they live, and their misery when they die. The character drawn is exactly that of a prudent, worldly man, who has no grateful regard to the providence of God, nor any right thought of the uncertainty of human affairs, the worth of his soul, or the importance of eternity. How many, even among professed Christians, point out similar characters as models for imitation, and proper persons to form connexions with! We mistake if we think that thoughts are hid, and thoughts are free. When he saw a great crop upon his ground, instead of thanking God for it, or rejoicing to be able to do more good, he afflicts himself. What shall I do now? The poorest beggar in the country could not have said a more anxious word. The more men have, the more perplexity they have with it. It was folly for him to think of making no other use of his plenty, than to indulge the flesh and gratify the sensual appetites, without any thought of doing good to others. Carnal worldlings are fools; and the day is coming when God will call them by their own name, and they will call themselves so. The death of such persons is miserable in itself, and terrible to them. Thy soul shall be required. He is loth to part with it; but God shall require it, shall require an account of it, require it as a guilty soul to be punished without delay. It is the folly of most men, to mind and pursue that which is for the body and for time only, more than that for the soul and eternity.
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Soul, thou hast much goods - Great possessions are generally accompanied with pride, idleness, and luxury; and these are the greatest enemies to salvation. Moderate poverty, as one justly observes, is a great talent in order to salvation; but it is one which nobody desires.

Take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry - This was exactly the creed of the ancient Atheists and Epicureans. Ede, bibe, lude; post mortem nulla voluptas. What a wretched portion for an immortal spirit! and yet those who know not God have no other, and many of them not even this.

Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, 452

Practice economy in the use of your time. This is the Lord's. Your strength is the Lord's. If you have extravagant habits, cut them away from your life. Such habits, indulged, will make you bankrupt for eternity. And habits of economy, industry, and sobriety are, even in this world, a better portion for you and your children than a rich dowry. 6T 452.1

We are travelers, pilgrims and strangers, on earth. Let us not spend our means in gratifying desires that God bids us repress. Let us rather set a right example before our associates. Let us fitly represent our faith by restricting our wants. Let the churches arise as one, and work earnestly as those who are walking in the full light of truth for these last days. Let your influence impress souls with the sacredness of God's requirements. 6T 452.2

If in the providence of God you have been given riches, do not settle down with the thought that you need not engage in useful labor, that you have enough, and can eat, drink, and be merry. Do not stand idle while others are struggling to obtain means for the cause. Invest your means in the Lord's work. If you do less than your duty in giving help to the perishing, remember that your indolence is incurring guilt. 6T 452.3

It is God who gives men power to get wealth, and He has bestowed this ability, not as a means of gratifying self, but as a means of returning to God His own. With this object it is not a sin to acquire means. Money is to be earned by labor. Every youth should be trained to habits of industry. The Bible condemns no man for being rich if he has acquired his riches honestly. It is the selfish love of money wrongfully employed that is the root of all evil. Wealth will prove a blessing if we regard it as the Lord's, to be received with thankfulness and with thankfulness returned to the Giver. 6T 452.4

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 3, 389

The people must not be left to stumble their way along in darkness, not knowing what is before them, and unprepared for the great issues that are coming. There is a work to be done for this time in fitting a people to stand in the day of trouble, and all must act their part in this work. They must be clothed with the righteousness of Christ, and be so fortified by the truth that the delusions of Satan shall not be accepted by them as genuine manifestations of the power of God.... 3SM 389.1

It is a solemn time for God's people, but if they stand close by the bleeding side of Jesus, he will be their defense. He will open ways that the message of light may come to the great men, to authors and lawmakers. They will have opportunities of which you do not now dream, and some of them will boldly advocate the claims of God's downtrodden law.... 3SM 389.2

Satan's Strategy in the Final Conflict—There is now need of earnest working men and women who will seek for the salvation of souls, for Satan as a powerful general has taken the field, and in this last remnant of time he is working through all conceivable methods to close the door against light that God would have come to His people. He is sweeping the whole world into his ranks, and the few who are faithful to God's requirements are the only ones who can ever withstand him, and even these he is trying to overcome.... 3SM 389.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, 545-7

God has opened ways in which covetousness can be overcome—by performing benevolent deeds. By your life you are saying that you esteem the treasures of the world more highly than immortal riches. You are saying: “Farewell, heaven; farewell, immortal life; I have chosen this world.” You are bartering away the pearl of great price for present gain. While thus admonished of God, while in His providence He has, as it were, already placed your feet in the dark river, will you, dare you, cultivate your money-loving propensities? Will you, as the last act of a misspent life, overreach and retain that which is another's just due? Will you reason yourself into the belief that you are doing justice to your brother? Will you add another act of scheming and overreaching to those already written against you in the records above? Shall the blow of God's retributive judgment fall upon you and you be called without warning to pass through the dark waters? 3T 545.1

Our Saviour frequently and earnestly rebuked the sin of covetousness. “And He said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And He spake a parable unto them, saying, 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, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” 3T 545.2

God has made a law for His people that a tenth of all the increase shall be His. I have given you, says God, nine tenths; I ask one tenth of all the increase. That one tenth the rich man had withheld from God. If he had not done this, if he had loved God supremely instead of loving and serving himself, he would not have accumulated so great treasures that there would be lack of room to bestow them. Had he bestowed his goods upon his needy brethren to supply their necessities, there would have been no need of tearing down and building greater barns. But he had disregarded the principles of the law of God. He had not loved the Lord with all his heart and his neighbor as himself. Had he used his wealth as a bounty lent him of God with which to do good he would have laid up treasure in heaven and been rich in good works. 3T 546.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 259-60

The Saviour of the world has presented a most profitable business in which rich and poor, learned and unlearned, may engage. All may safely lay up for themselves “a treasure in the heavens that faileth not.” This is investing their powers on the right side. It is putting out their talents to the exchangers. 5T 259.1

Jesus illustrated His teaching by the case of a substantial farmer whom the Lord had greatly favored. The Lord had blessed his grounds, causing them to produce plentifully, thus placing it in his power to exercise liberality to others not so greatly blessed. But when he found that his grounds had produced so abundantly, far beyond his expectation, instead of planning how to relieve the poor in their necessities, he began to devise means to secure all to himself. As he saw the gifts of heaven rolling into his garners he poured not out his soul in thanksgiving to the bounteous Giver, neither did he consider that this great blessing had brought additional responsibility. In the pure selfishness of his nature he inquires: “What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?” Taking counsel with his own covetous heart, 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, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” The means of real enjoyment and elevation of soul are activity, self-control, holy purposes; but all that this man proposed to do with the bounties God had given him was to degrade the soul. And what was the result? “God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” 5T 259.2

This poor rich man possessed great earthly treasure, but was destitute of the true riches. How many today are under condemnation for a similar reason. Streams of salvation are poured in upon us from the throne of God. Temporal blessings are given, but they are not improved to bless humanity or to glorify God. The Lord is our gracious benefactor. He has brought light and immortality to light through Jesus Christ. Yes, through Jesus all our blessings come. Oh, that every tongue would acknowledge the great Giver! Let every voice, in clear and joyful strains, proclaim the glad tidings that through Jesus the future, immortal life is opened to us; and invitations are given for all to accept this great boon. All the treasures of heaven are brought within our reach, waiting our demand. Can we be surprised that this poor rich man was called a fool because he turned away from eternal riches, the priceless gift of immortal life, the eternal weight of glory, and was satisfied with perishable, earthly treasures? 5T 260.1

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