The Rich Young Ruler

Generous Giving Conference

In this 12-minute excerpt from his session at the Generous Giving Conference, Mark Batterson recounts the story of the Rich Young Ruler from Matthew 19, shedding light on aspects of the story that are often overlooked. Mark is Lead Pastor of National Community Church in Washington D.C. He is a bestselling author of 11 books including The Grave Robber  and  The Circle Maker

Matthew 19:16-22 (ESV)

The Rich Young Man

16And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”17And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”18He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness,19Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”20The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?”21Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”22When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Why do you think our first reaction is often to feel sorry for the Rich Young Ruler? What does that say about us?
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Mark pointed to the reality that the Rich Young Ruler could have funded Jesus' entire ministry, but He didn't ask for a cent. What does Jesus' response to the Rich Young Ruler's wealth indicate about what He finds valuable?
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What comfort can wealthy people find in Jesus' words to the Rich Young Ruler? What warning is extended to them?
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Regardless if you are a person of significant means or not, what might the Lord be asking you to lay down? What do you risk missing out on if you don't?
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When the Lord asks us to lay something down, it is always in view of something far more valuable. Watch this real-life story featuring Stanley Tam, who gave his business to God in order to see people across the world hear the gospel.

The joy of turning over all the profits of his successful business to God far outweighed any earthly pleasures Stanley could have purchased. The Rich Young Ruler failed to recognize what Stanley did—the surpassing value of following Christ. No matter how seemingly valuable your possessions are, a life in Christ is worth far more. 

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