” A certain ruler asked Jesus a question, “Good teacher,” he said, “what must I do to receive eternal life?”
“Why do you call me good?”, Jesus answered. “No one is good except God. You know what the commandments say. ‘Do not commit adultery. Do not commit murder. Do not steal. Do not be a false witness. Honor your father and mother.’ ”
“I have obeyed all those commandments since I was a boy,” the ruler said.
When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You are still missing one thing. Sell everything you have. Give the money to those who are poor. You will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me.”
When the ruler heard this, he became very sad. He was very rich. Jesus looked at him. Then he said, “How hard it is for rich people to enter God’s kingdom! Is it hard for a camel to go through the eye of a needle? It is even harder for someone who is rich to enter God’s kingdom!” Those who heard this asked, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus replied, “Things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” Luke 18:18-27
This week we’ll encourage kids to give up anything that might keep them from developing their faith. Over at Ministry-to-Kids.com, Amy has created a wonderful object lesson that helps children understand the scripture when Jesus talks about the rich young ruler. Here is an excerpt:
- What is a resolution?”
- “A resolution is a goal. Something you want to do or be by the end of the year.”
- “Do you have some ideas for a resolution you could make?” Take input from the kids.
- “Did you know a resolution can be something you choose to give up, too? For example, you can resolve or make a goal to give up eating candy because it is not good for your teeth. Or you could give up playing video games after dinner because sometimes you end up staying up too late.”
- “Jesus spoke to a man in the Bible and asked him to give something up so the man could follow Jesus with his whole heart. Jesus wanted the man to resolve to give up this thing so he could fully follow Jesus. Can you guess what that one thing was?” Take input from the kids.
- “Let’s look at the passage where Jesus talks with this man and find out what the one thing is Jesus asked him to give up.”
- “Open your Bibles to Luke 18:18-27 and let’s read the passage together.”
- Read the passage out loud.
- “What is the question the man asked Jesus?” How can I have eternal life?
- “How did Jesus answer his question?” Reread verses 19-20.
- “First, Jesus reminded the man that no one is good and that all people have sinned.”
- “What was the man’s reply?” He said he had kept all the laws Jesus listed and was a good man.
- “Yet what did Jesus tell the man he still needed to do?” Reread verse 22.
- “Jesus told the rich man to give up everything he owned to follow Jesus. This is the ‘one thing’ the man had left to do before he could have eternal life.”
- Reread verse 23. “How did the man feel about giving up everything he owned?” He was sad because he was very rich and he did not want to give all of his possessions up to follow Jesus.
- “Now something I want to make clear to you is that Jesus does not give us a list of things to do in order to get into heaven. There is no to-do list to check off. But you might wonder then why did Jesus ask this man to do something to receive eternal life? Jesus knew that this wealthy man was being held back by his many possessions. His great wealth was the ‘one thing’ that was keeping his heart hard. Jesus knew this man’s heart would not want to follow Jesus until his possessions had been given away.”
- “Jesus says in verse 24-25,” Reread these verses.
- “To be a true follower of Christ and receive eternal life we must give our whole heart to Him. This rich young ruler was willing to give most of his heart and life to Jesus, but not all of it. His wealth was the ‘one thing’ keeping him from following Jesus with his whole heart.”
- “ Maybe there is something your heart is clinging to which you think is more important than Jesus. Is it getting the lead role in the school play? Is it becoming the player to score the most goals on your soccer team? Is it sneaking extra food from the kitchen at home when no one is looking? Is it not following what your parents say because you think you know better? All of these things can hold you back from having the closest relationship you can have with Jesus.”
- “So what is your ‘one thing’ today? For the rich young ruler it was holding on to his wealth, which meant he did not receive eternal life. What is your ‘one thing’?”
- “Jesus does not leave us to give up that ‘one thing’ all on our own and by our own strength. He knows we cannot do it on our own, but we need his help. Ask Jesus for help to give up your ‘one thing’ to Him. Pray for Him to help you give up your ‘one thing’ this year, so that you can have a relationship with Him or so you can have a closer relationship with him. None of us can give up our ‘one thing’ all on our own. We need His help every day.” Hop over to her site and check it out!
Take a large marshmallow, and try to shape in into a heart. Using markers, have children write in their “one thing”. You can let it dry out and leave it on the counter as a reminder that we don’t want to have anything in our life that could cause our hearts to harden.