Lesson: The Rich Young Ruler – Loving God and Others More Important than Money

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Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to teach kids to keep God as the most important thing in their lives.

Needed: Bibles, soft balls or paper wads, pennies

Intro Game: Rotating Firsts 

Divide the students into two teams and play dodge ball with soft play balls or wads of waste paper. After 30 seconds, name one of the balls as the 1st ball. That is the only ball that can get someone out. If anyone picks up any of the other balls, they’re out. After 30 seconds, go back to normal play. Then, 30 seconds later, choose another ball as the 1st ball.

After the game, explain that we have to learn to put God first in our lives, just like we had to name one of the balls to be first.


Ask students, If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it? What would you buy?

Now, pretend you had all those things, and someone asked you to give all that stuff away. What would you do?

(Read Matthew 19:16.)

“Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, ‘Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?’

What does the rich man want? (He wants to know how he can get eternal life.)

What is eternal life? (Living forever in Heaven.)

So, the man wants to know what he has to do to get to Heaven.

(Read Matthew 19:17-21.)

“’Why do you ask me about what is good?’ Jesus replied. ‘There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.’

“’Which ones?’ he inquired.

“Jesus replied, ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,” and “love your neighbor as yourself.”’

“’All these I have kept,’ the young man said. ‘What do I still lack?’

“Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.’”

Why do you think Jesus wants the man to sell everything he has and give the money to the poor?

(Jesus wants the man to help the poor.)

Jesus is also testing the man to see if the rich man will do what He says. If we want to be Jesus’ follower, we have to do what Jesus says, even if it’s hard, like giving up our nice things or our money.

(Read Matthew 19:22.)

“When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.”

Do you think the rich man will do what Jesus said and sell all of his things so that he can help poor people?

I don’t think he will. I think the rich man loved his money and his things more than he loved God. I think he would rather keep his things and his money than follow God. Jesus was testing the man to see what was more important to him – God or his money – and the man decided that his money was more important.

But if we want to be Jesus’ followers and go to Heaven when we die, then we have to make sure that we know that God is most important and do whatever He tells us to do.

(Read Matthew 19:23-29.)

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, 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.’

“When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, ‘Who then can be saved?’

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’

Peter answered Him, ‘We have left everything to follow You! What then will there be for us?’

“Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on His glorious throne, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for My sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.’”

Peter asked what people would get if they gave up things for God, and Jesus said that when He comes back to earth, He will reward people who gave up things for God and will give them a hundred times more than they had in the first place.

We only have to remember to make God most important in our lives and to do whatever He tells us, and then, He will reward us when Jesus comes back again.

Game: Give It Away 

Divide students into two teams. Give one team a handful of pennies. Have them keep as much as they think they need, giving a rationale for each cent. Question their decision on what they need to keep their money for and what they don’t. You are trying to get them to see the difference between needs and wants.

Tell them to give away the rest, putting it into an offering plate. The leader takes some of that money, explaining that it’s for the church to pay its bills, and then gives the rest to the other team. Now, ask the second team to keep what they need from what they’ve been given by the first team. Again, they put their extra into the offering.

Then, the leader pulls out more money to give to the first team to reward them for their generosity. The more they gave away during their round, the more they receive as a reward from God. They are also given the offering from team two. This is how offering works and how God rewards us for it.

Play three rounds. At the beginning of each round, the money that the teams kept is “spent” on their necessities and recycles back into the leader’s supply.

Game: Rotating Firsts 

Play the intro game again and remind students to always put God first in their lives.

Closing Prayer

Father God, we pray that You’ll help us to keep You first in our lives. Help us not to make money or things or even other people more important than You because You are the one who made us and saved us. You are our God. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, The Parables and Teachings of Jesus Vol. 2.

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