Day 18

Rich Young Ruler

Mark 10:17-31, Luke 12:16-21, Ecclesiastes 5:8-20

BY Guest Writer

Our little Jonah is Tigger personified—a bouncy and sweet, rambunctious five-year-old. That means that at our house, there’s usually some kind of ball being thrown somewhere. With our high living room ceilings, the constant air assault, and the dodging, our house can feel a lot like a middle school gym class.

One ball has always been Jonah’s favorite: a foam mini football. He threw it so often that it ripped and busted out of its fabric casing. Jonah didn’t care. He kept throwing it until it was just an oblong sphere of stuffing barely holding together. For months, he refused to throw anything else.

Throwing and bouncing and catching is Jonah’s love language. One day, I decided to embrace it full force. You know those huge bouncy balls from big box stores, the ones in bins at the end of the aisle? I got him one. I got him the biggest, 18-inch, bright red, nearly-half-his-size ball.

I didn’t think a little face could contain that much joy. He’s since played with it for hours and hours. Believe it or not, the old foam football (which we’ve since replaced with a new one) hasn’t seen much playing time lately. Nothing captures Jonah’s heart like his massive, red, bouncy ball. He didn’t know something so wonderful existed.

There was a young man in Scripture who was holding on to something tightly, yet God wanted to bless him beyond his understanding. When the rich, young ruler came to Jesus and asked Him what he needed to do to gain eternal life, he and Jesus first discussed obeying some of the Ten Commandments. The man assured Jesus that he had followed them, and Jesus didn’t disagree. Then Scripture describes a deeply beautiful moment: “Looking at him, Jesus loved him” (Mark 10:21). Oh, the eyes of our Savior, showering love on this young man. Then Jesus said:

“You lack one thing:
Go, sell all you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me” (Mark 10:21).

This is the only time in the Gospels that Jesus makes such a demand of a potential disciple. Scripture tells us Peter owned a house (Matthew 8:14), so following Jesus doesn’t necessarily mean leaving behind all of our earthly possessions. So why did Jesus make such a high demand? Because He knew that the young man’s wealth had his heart—it had his heart so deeply that the thought of giving his wealth away grieved him (Mark 10:22). Jesus knew He had something in store for the young man that was far beyond what he could comprehend: Himself. And so He told the young man to let go of what was keeping him back, and to follow Him instead.

The man walked away sad. We don’t know whether or not he ever decided to follow Jesus. We only have a Polaroid snapshot of this single moment in time. I hope we’ll meet this young man in heaven one day and he’ll say, “That moment was a turning point for me. Jesus’s loving gaze undid me. So after a time, I let go—of everything—and I grabbed on to Him. I thought I was rich before, but my heart couldn’t even comprehend the depths of the riches of knowing Jesus. He is my greatest treasure.”

We know that richness, don’t we? We are those who have been looked on and loved by our Savior. May His kindness lead us to pray: Jesus, if our hearts, prone to wander, start pining after lesser treasures, may Your love undo us and call us back to You.

Laurin Greco is an author, editor, and mommy who lives in the Nashville area with her author/editor husband and her not quite author/editor three young sons. Laurin is the author of the Discover God’s Heart Devotional Bible and The Storybook of God’s Great Love: The Old Testament and The New Testament. When the house is quiet, she loves to quilt, but mostly she collects fabric for that one-day quilt she’s going to make.

Post Comments (52)

52 thoughts on "Rich Young Ruler"

  1. Alicia McCann says:

    Jesus may I never hold on too tightly to lesser things or that which you would have me let go in order to step into the greater things you have for me!!

  2. Jennifer Anapol says:

    We will always have to fight this battle of giving Jesus our whole hearts. There will always be things that try and get in the way of our relationship with God. We had to continually surrender this area to God.

  3. Beth Ann McCormick says:

    Today as I read these passages I realized that Jesus acknowledges the difficulty we have in giving our whole hearts to Him. He understands leaving what feels secure and comfortable to follow Him. He understands because He gave up so much more than we ever could to bring us to His Father. Oh what love our Savior has for us.

    1. Jennifer Anapol says:


  4. Keelie Ann says:

    This story is one I could read over and over to remind me to let go…of everything! And follow the Lord. AMEN!

  5. Taylor says:


    I empathize with exactly where you are right now. My “future” as I was planning it was turned completely upside down. I also sought being in relationships to fill me with the love that only God could truly provide. Let me just share one example of how God brought me to a place to give it all up, and the blessings that ensued as a result:
    I was in a relationship with a man who wasn’t a Christian and I felt God calling me out of it. I fought and fought to maintain control until one day it just snapped. I was brought to my knees in surrender and I ended my relationship. I was (and still am) so scared to be alone. But with God we are never truly alone because we have direct access to Him through the Holy Spirit. Since then, I have had more time to spend with my sister who is getting married soon and our relationship has flourished being home at our parent’s house because of COVID. My best friend’s mom is battling cancer, and because I sacrificed that relationship I have had so much time to walk alongside my best friend during this unimaginable time. I see the Lord blessing me for my step of faithfulness and I know He will bless you too. However, I firmly believe that we sometimes need to wrestle it out with God. It may take you a week, a month, a year, to get to a place where you are ready to truly surrender it all to God. And that’s okay. He is still working and moving in the waiting. If you ever need some encouragement or support from a fellow single woman who’s also trying to live in surrender to God’s will even though it can be scary at times, we can absolutely connect outside of this platform. Praying for you to come to a place where you are ready to open your hands and live in surrender to God’s will. I acknowledge it can be challenging, but He is with us every step of the way <3

    1. Alexcia M.Lewis says:

      Gosh I needed to read this. The most recent page in my story has read similar! Hope to connect with you one day!

  6. Julie says:

    Rachel, let’s not forget Jesus is talking to this specific man. He asks him a specific thing. Don’t read into something more to justify your stance, when scripture may state plainly elsewhere what to do. I am not sure of your situation. Sometimes relationships need to be ended, but sometimes it is worth it to hang on, learning forgiveness and grace. God can bless you in that situation as well. Anyway, just be careful not to read into something more than what it says. Praying for you.

  7. Melanie Rastrelli says:

    Many prayers for your husband’s healing and for you

  8. Rachiel says:

    When I read about the rich young ruler, I wonder how he could not just give it away. Jesus told him to. I mean, what more incentive you need. But then I wonder what l would not give up. What do I hold so dear that I hold on to it tightly? God wants it all. He wants everything we have. Yet, if I’m honest, I know there are things I hold too tightly. My fear of future, my relationships, are just a few that come to mind. I know that I can give them up, but then I wonder at what cost? I once heard a story about a girl with a fake pearl necklace who wouldn’t give it up for her father, but once she did, he gave a her a real pearl necklace. That parable has come into my mind a lot lately. I have wondered if I am holding on to something fake when I could have the real thing. Am I holding on to a relationship too tightly when I know that it is no longer good for me, if it ever was. But I’m scared to be completely alone. Yes, I have friends and family, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been truly single, and I wonder if I could handle it. But with God nothing is impossible. It’s just a leap of faith.

    1. Kristin R says:

      Rachiel, I so resonate with your post. I am going through this right now. My boyfriend of 3 years and I just broke up. I have been ready to marry him since year 1, but he wasn’t ready. I was waiting, praying that God would change his heart and he would know I was meant to be his wife. I think I have known for awhile now that this was not going to happen and God didn’t want this for us, but I held on in fear. I loved him and still love him so much. And I would be lying if I said I am doing well. I am absolutely heartbroken and hurt. But, I know that our God is so much greater. I know that He will give me the peace and hope I need. I have already seen Him working in small ways and through other people. So, I will pray for you. Pray that you will trust God and feel His love no matter the outcome. Blessings!

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