Concerning eternal life, Jonathan Edwards wrote this: “The sum of that eternal life which Christ purchased is holiness; it is a holy happiness. And there is in faith a liking of the happiness that Christ has procured and offers.”
So one day a young man ran up to Jesus, knelt before Him, and called him “Good Teacher.” By his own estimation, he had lived a pretty good life. In fact, he could check off the commandments in his head as Jesus quoted them. Yet, he put a lot of effort into garnering a one-on-one with Jesus, which tells us that he sensed something was still missing in his spiritual disciplines or that he really was zealous to secure his happiness in the life to come. God has put eternity in man’s heart and he will seek it in multiple ways that always fall short apart from the new birth.
The man kneeling at the feet of Jesus didn’t recognize how skewed and disordered his priorities were. Idolatry can be defined as disordered loves or desires, and this affluent seeker of eternal life desired a secured happiness and spiritual fulfillment for the future, affirmed by Jesus Himself.
For a second, the young man’s heart must have leaped for joy when he heard that only one thing was required. Only one! This fit his working assumption—surely he could do that one thing and procure his desired end. But it wasn’t to be. That one thing Jesus instructed him to do seemed way over the top. It would be like plucking out his right eye or cutting off his right arm or taking up a cross and dying daily. Jesus called this rich young man to a radical life of pursuing his full happiness in God Himself. This is eternal life—to know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent (John 17:3).
We’re told he was “disheartened by the saying” and went away sorrowful. He found it impossible to set both hands to the plow while grasping his wealth. He simply couldn’t delight himself in the Lord when his heart was so full of stuff. Henry Skougal put it this way: “The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its desire.” This young man desired another commandment to obey, something he could achieve on his own and add to the list he already took pride in. As a result, he lost happiness both in this life and the next.
How I use money and handle my stuff speaks to my eternal values. More importantly, the choices I make each day regarding money and stuff bear eternal consequence—Am I living for this world or the next? Matthew Henry ended his commentary on the rich young ruler with this exhortation: “Let us pray to be enabled to part with all, if required, in Christ’s service, and to use all we are allowed to keep in his service.”
Rich Young Ruler Sunday School Flannelgraph
We’re teaching Mark 10 this week and made some visuals of the rich young ruler to use with children. You’ll find a house, a tree, a camel, some money bags, and the rich young ruler below. These work well as flannelgraph objects. You are welcome to download them and use them in your own home or Bible classes.
Children’s Ministry International sells flocked paper for the backing. We love using this because it makes everything so easy. Just peel, stick it on the back of the printed card stock, and cut out your figures.