What would you give up? This children’s message focuses on the story of Jesus and the rich young ruler, who thought he could earn himself salvation but missed out on the most important asset available, Christ! This message challenges kids to consider how we can become distracted by wealth or “stuff”, and forget about the most important things in life.
Law/Gospel Theme: Many times, when we look at this passage, we focus on the wealth element, emphasizing how it can be hard to worship God when we are distracted by money. That is certainly true; however, there’s more going on in this story. The rich man thought that he could earn himself salvation by doing enough good works. He didn’t understand that salvation comes through following Jesus, and was disappointed at the prospect of foregoing treasure to rely on someone else. If all we have is Christ, we have more than enough!
Optional Materials: Items that would be considered treasured or valued, whether personally or economically.
Bible Passage: Mark 10:17-31
Message Note: As with most messages, the details of how you choose to communicate this are adaptable and should cater to timing as well as to your audience and student needs. Use your judgment and ideas to best serve students.
More Teaching Ideas:
- Watch the video demonstration of this children’s sermon and related Bible craft ideas
- Download our complete Sunday School lesson on Mark 10:17-31
- Compare the Mark 10:17-31 children’s sermon from rfour.org
Children’s Sermon (Mark 10:17-31) Jesus and the Rich Young Ruler
Greet children, carrying some sort of items of worth; sewing needle (optional).
Hello, children of God! Do you have a lot of fun toys and treasures at home? Would you say that you have some items that are your favorite, or most prized possessions? Or maybe something that you think is worth a lot? I want to share with you some of my favorite things. Take a moment to share a few valued items, whether due to monetary worth (pictures) or sentimental value.
Now, what would you think if someone asked you to give up those special things? If you had to give them away or even throw them away? What if someone asked you to get rid of ALL of the things you have?
That might seem pretty crazy, but it’s actually what happened in our Gospel lesson. There was a rich man who came to Jesus and asked how he could get himself into Heaven. Well, that was his first problem…He thought he could get himself into Heaven! Jesus reminded this man of the commandments, which he said he had kept his whole life. Jesus invited this guy to do one more thing: sell his possessions, and give his money to poor people. That sort of shook him up. He had a lot of wealth! Why would he want to give it all away?
So, the man left, and Jesus talked to His disciples about how challenging it can be to have a lot of “stuff.” He said that it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter God’s kingdom. What does that mean? (Hold up needle) This is a needle…it’s hard enough to get thread through this thing, but a CAMEL? With a hump on its back? That seems rather impossible. Jesus was saying that without God, it would be impossible for anyone—rich or poor—to make it to Heaven. The problem with the young ruler was not so much that he was rich, but that he wanted to rely on his riches and his own good deeds for support, rather than on the Lord. He valued his things more than other people or God.
There’s nothing wrong with having things. We need a certain amount of money to survive, after all. But God wants us to depend on Him. Our help, hope, and salvation come from Jesus. There’s nothing we can have or do that will do what His death did: He takes away our sins and grants us grace and new life. We want to remember to share that good news with people, just as we share our things or money with them. So just remember that no matter what kinds of fun toys or beloved treasures you have, nothing is worth more than Jesus. We can appreciate things, but don’t get distracted from the number one thing!
Why don’t we say a prayer to thank God and ask for His help in relying on Jesus?
Children’s Prayer Moment:
(Have kids repeat each line)
Thank you for blessing us with all we need
Help us to trust in you
And not depend on our things for joy
You are worth more than any treasure!
Thank you for your love
We love you, God!
In Jesus name, Amen!
Bible Verses/story to Reference: Mark 10:17-31
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is[e] 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 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”