One of my favorite things to do on Saturday mornings as a kid (before the Sooners game aired) was to watch cartoons on television. I was hooked even before they were broadcast in color…
Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, Tom and Jerry, Coyote and Roadrunner, Batman and Robin, Scooby-Doo, Pepé Le Pew, Mighty Mouse, Underdog, Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Flintstones, Jetsons, Speedy Gonzales, Popeye, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Deputy Dog, Casper and maybe even an episode or two of The Three Stooges if we were lucky. It was our Saturday morning ritual and we loved it. I’ll bet I’m not the only one who has favorite episodes with memorable lines you can still quote. Maybe you, like me, have quoted a memorable line to your kids or grandkids only to see that cold, blank look on their face that confirms you are indeed really old.
Sometimes I long for the days when things were more clearly black and white, when truth was truth, and everyone believed in absolute rights and wrongs. But things have gotten so jumbled up today in our post-modern world of relativism. Maybe we could learn a few things from our animated friends of the past in that area.
Along those line, the Ali Baba Bunny episode is one of the most memorable for me from the Bugs Bunny show that I loved so much. Maybe you remember it too. Bugs and Daffy are on their way to Pensacola beach for vacation. Daffy blindly follows along underground as Bugs tunnels their way to the intended destination. But they get lost somewhere along the way and surface accidentally in Ali Baba’s cave, which turns out to be filled with treasure. As you may recall, Daffy’s greedy alter-ego surfaces and he pummels Bugs back into the tunnel hole in hopes of claiming the treasure all for himself. Jumping up and down on Bugs to driving him back underground Daffy exclaims; “Mine, mine, mine, all mine” just before he bolts across the cavern and dives headfirst into the mounds of gold coins. Emerging seconds later, Daffy leaps high into the air while proclaiming “I’m rich, I’m wealthy, yahoo…I’m comfortably well off!”
Well, if you remember that episode like I do then you know the rest of the story. Daffy’s foolhardy claim could not have been further from the truth. The treasure was not his just because he stumbled upon it, it belonged to someone else. Someone with far greater power who had absolute title to everything Daffy claimed to own. In the end, to no one’s surprise, the true owner of the treasure was revealed and Daffy was lucky to escape alive.
Shrunken to a fraction of his former self by the genie in the end, Daffy grasped hold of a single white pearl from an open clam shell before running off into the sunset repeating his initial claim; “Mine, mine, mine, all mine.” You and I know that Daffy was a fool to believe that it was ever his treasure at all. No matter how vociferous his claims, it was not his and it never would be.
If you will, Daffy was a Rich Fool, if only for a fleeting minute of time. While it’s easy for us to separate fantasy from reality when viewing cartoons, it not always easy for us to do that in real life. Too often we act like Daffy laying claim to things we don’t own while desperately trying to hold onto them for as long as we can as if we do own them.
Would you believe that Jesus spoke to this topic in our focal passage today? No, he didn’t craft a cartoon skit to illustrate His point, but he did share a parable with His disciples that illustrates a very similar point. You can’t take it with you! It’s called the Parable of the Rich Fool and I hope you will join us this week as we delve into Luke 12:13-21 to learn more about being rich toward God.
If you are unable to join us in person for this study, please feel free to download the Bible study materials for your personal use by following one of these links: PowerPoint Slides, PDF File. For more information about this Bible study series please see Doubtless Living: The Gospel of Luke.