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. Alexis says:

    LDUB, praying for you and your husband. Praying that his mind be healed from the trauma he’s experienced. Praying that he is open to getting the help he needs. Praying that you remain strong during all this and know that God sees, He knows, and is with you every step of the way.

  2. Melissa Graves says:

    LDUB, I echo the prayers being lifted toward heaven on you and your family’s behalf. Lord please hover over this family with Your grace and peace and please provide the healing, help and hope this soldier and all who love him need.

  3. Diana Fleenor says:

    As I consider these passages and this devotion, I ask for prayer for my own heart as well as for my unbelieving husband. Since being born again years into our marriage, I’ve struggled with our different worldviews when it comes to many things, with financial decisions among them. I will sense a conviction when reading passages like this, and desire to give more generously than we have been giving. Yet, when I approach my husband, he does not see what I see. I know that I’m also called to submit to him as the leader of our household. So, I pray often for the Lord to do a work in his heart. Over time he has become more willing to let go to a degree and allow me a certain amount each year to give as I see fit. I’m thankful for this. Yet, I also struggle to make decisions about to whom and where to give. I’d so appreciate prayer for both of us. Thanks sisters!

  4. Dorothy says:

    This is a story I need to read more frequently to remind myself God doesn’t care how much I make He cares that I believe and that I follow Him and His Son and believe. In my new apartment I have only one clock right now and that is in the bedroom (not counting the one on my computer or phone) and it’s driving me crazy. I have found this wonderful website society6 where you can get hand made items. Well I found a clock for my living room wall that says “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord” from Joshua. It has a drawing of a house on it also. I’ve ordered it and can’t wait for it to come. It will remind me of where I need to be grounded.

  5. Diana Fleenor says:

    LDUB: I pray with you and these sisters here for your husband’s struggle. I ask the Lord to show him the pride that holds him back from receiving God’s grace. I know I’ve needed to become more and more humble to taste his amazing grace. May the Lord have mercy on him, on you and your family!

  6. Diana Fleenor says:

    TAYLOR: Glad to join you in prayer for Cynthia. I do pray for the Lord’s healing to be grand and bring glory to his name. May he fill her with his presence and peace as well as all of you who are walking with her through this trial.

  7. Lindsay C. says:

    I will never forget missionary to Uganda Katie Davis Majors talking about how she notices herself relying on God less when she is in the US. (Paraphrasing) For instance, at the first indication of an ache or pain, she turns to a doctor. In Uganda she doesn’t have that option so she turns to God. In response, her relationship with God is much sweeter and real. When we are surrounded by riches and resources, it is easy to think we are in control. Help me to remember who is above all, in all, and through all things.

    Thankful Julia’s surgery went well Churchmouse. Praying for you and your husband Ldub, as well as Cynthia, your friend’s mom, Taylor.

  8. Maura says:

    “Looking at him, Jesus loved him.” How many times have you felt Jesus love, He is looking at you and me and loving us so dearly!! Whether we are lost, battling depression, caught in addiction, full of anger, He sees us, loves us and asks us to follow Him, the true treasure that blesses beyond all else. Praying for you Sisters may you feel His eyes of love on you and your family LDub, Taylor for your friend’s Mom, healing and peace for all of us that comes from the goodness of our Lord.

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