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A Rich Young Man

Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”

So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’”

And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.”

Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”

But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Mark 10:17-22

I read that passage during our recent road trip to Colorado, sitting in the bullpen at Coors Field. It’s a really awesome bullpen, so it’s kind of a cool place to sit and think. I read that passage, and then I literally just asked Jesus about it, because I honestly don’t know if that rich young man is me.

Right before we read about this young man, the Bible tells us that people were trying to bring their children in to be blessed by Jesus. The disciples told them to get away, and Jesus said, “Hey! What are you doing? You don’t block these kids from coming to me. These kids are the center of the Kingdom of God. They are It. Their kind of faith is what this Kingdom is built on. You want to know how to be saved? You want to have eternal life? Then you need to have childlike faith.”

After blessing the children, Jesus left, and it was then that the young man chased Him down in the street. The young man said, “Wait! What must I do to be saved?”

I think this young man heard Jesus say that we must have childlike faith to enter the Kingdom, so he went to Jesus to ask Him about it. “But I’m not a child,’ he said, “so what do I need to do?” When He heard that, Jesus told him, “You know what to do. Keep the commandments. Don’t steal, don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, and so on.” And the young man said, “Okay, I’ve done that.” And Jesus said, “Right. So go, and sell everything you have.”

Jesus was helping the young man understand how to have childlike faith. Children don’t have anything. They’re totally dependent on their parents. My two sons says, “Dad, I’m hungry,” and they expects me to give them food. “Dad,” they say, “I’d like to have this toy. Go buy it!” They think money is made on trees. They tell me to take that card thing of mine and swipe it, because they thinks that’s all I need to do. They are totally dependent on me, for every single thing.

I don’t necessarily think God tells every rich man to go and give away all of his money. The ministry of God depends on people with money. You need money to push the Gospel. Bibles wouldn’t be printed, and missionaries wouldn’t survive, without the support of people with money. Ministries aren’t built and people aren’t served without money. So you’ve got to have donors with money.

But I do think Jesus challenges me by asking, “Hey, look, would you be able to be totally dependent on me? You need to think about that, because you’re paid a lot of money.”

I’ve been writing about abundance and prosperity. I truly believe it is God’s will to prosper you. But this story asks us an important question, and it’s one we have to think about. Are you that rich young man? More on this next time. See you Wednesday.

5 thoughts on “A Rich Young Man

  1. This is sooooo good. I’ve never thought about the “childlike” faith from this angle before. Simplicity of how children view and interpret the world, sure, but not that total dependence on dad. This has opened my eyes in a new way to this passage.

    Love all that I read here. Thanks for sharing from your wisdom and your heart.

  2. Jeremy… Love your BLOG Brother. Jesus commenting on Childlike faith is an interesting take. I think comparing the Mark 10 passage with the synoptic readings in Matthew and Luke a couple of things jump out. Jesus knows the man’s heart. He calls Jesus “Good Teacher” and Jesus says “Why do you call me good? There is none good but God” Obviously he doesn’t know who Jesus really is #1 and #2 His answer to Jesus that he has kept the commandments from his youth shows he has no real understanding of sin and his unworthiness as no man can really keep any of them. Jesus knowing his heart and that he “loved riches” demands something of him that he will never do. Your point is very well made… it is not that we need to sell everything we have it’s that we can not love riches or anything more than Jesus and the Gospel.

    Lisa and I live in Colorado and our huge fans of you and the Giants and were there last weekend… We never miss a series when the Giants are in town. Thanks for your faithfulness and stand for Christ. We love you and will continue to pray for you! I heard one of my favorite old Giants on this AM with Marty on KNBR talking about his faith and trying to instil Christian values in the kids he works with warmed my heart.

    God Bless Brother!

  3. Great post, Jeremy. We are so blessed to have your contributions to our team and our lives. You are truly an inspiration. Stay blessed, my Brother in Christ.

  4. Hey Jeremy,
    I think it would be better said that the “ministry of men” depends on people with money. Not “the ministry of God depends on people with money.” God certainly does not need your money or mine and I believe that the rich young ruler had a problem with coveting his possessions and that’s perhaps why he went away sad. He wasn’t willing to let go of his possesions and follow Jesus. It’s not a bad thing to have money or possessions but when they possess you that’s the problem. It’s a heart problem, a sin problem. Jesus knows the heart, he knew this young man’s heart, He knew the heart of the woman at the well, He knew the heart of the woman caught in the act of adultery. He knows our heart and shines His light on it to reveal the thing that keeps us from serving Him with child-like faith. It certainly takes child-like faith to tithe and give to the work of the ministry but again it’s a principle that God desires us to step out in child-like faith and obey His Word. Perhaps the Lord is preparing you for something in ministry that will require you to step out in child-like faith that has nothing to do with money. Since you have an abundance of money, is it really a step of faith to give? I’ll be praying!

    May you prosper as your soul prospers!

    Go Giants!!

  5. the lesson given to us by the Lord is simple. Earthly goods, possessions, riches hold no value in heaven. We can acquire wealth but it does not bring happiness nor can it get us to heaven. Just because you have wealth does not make you a bad person it is what you do with it and the attitude you have towards it that matters.
    One doesn’t have to give away all their worldly possessions but remeber that they are not ours to begin with. They are the Lords so we should use them to do his will not ours. Feeding your family and providing for them is not a sin but not using what you have to help others is. from what I know about you I believe you are using your “fame & fortune” to lead others to the Lord and that is what makes you a good man.

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