The Rich Young Ruler and ‘Hold in the Heart’ Mark 10/17-31

Mark 10:17-31 The Rich Young Ruler

For All Age Worship

Jesus is approached by a really wonderful young man. He asks Jesus ‘what must I do to  to have eternal life?’ Jesus says: you know the commandments: don’t murder; don’t commit adultery; don’t steal; don’t lie; don’t cheat; honour your parents. He replied ‘But I have done all those things since I was a boy’. He has fulfilled all the religious laws.  He is a good guy and Mark says that Jesus loved him.

But there’s a problem: Jesus has left the two most important commandments off the list.  The commandments about love: loving God and loving neighbour.  Jesus can see his heart; can see what he loves the most: its not God; its not his neighbours.

Although the Rich Man has obeyed all the religious laws, Jesus can see that his heart is taken up with his wealth, with his possessions, they set his priorities, they occupy his time, they fill his thoughts and so Jesus tells him that he lacks one thing: that he should sell all his possessions and give the money to the poor, and follow him….

Now Jesus is not saying that our possessions are bad.  The question is: have they taken over our hearts; do they set our priorities, do they take up all our time, do they fill our thoughts, so that we can’t follow Jesus, even if we want to?

So now going to play a game.  The game is called ‘Hold in the Heart’

One teenager comes forward and stands on a small heart shaped card.  The smallest children are invited to come and stand on the heart as well, so that the teenager has to “hold them in the heart’’  by holding their hands then a series of possessions; a car; a front door (representing a house), a picture of a yacht, a silver spoon, an old book, a tennis racquet (representing a Wimbledon membership), an airplane (representing expensive holidays), bags of coins are given to her to hold etc. and it eventually becomes clear that she cannot hold all of these things and hold onto the younger children who fall away….

So we change the game and take away the possessions.  If we concentrate on the people and not the possessions, we find the heart gets bigger (a larger heart to stand upon) and can accommodate any number of others.

Mark 10:17–31(NRSV)

The Rich Man

17 As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’ ”20 He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” 21 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”22 When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

23 Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”26 They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”

28 Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news,30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

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