The Rich Young Ruler Matthew 19:16-30

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1 2 The Rich Young Ruler Matthew 19:16-30 Kids will understand: The story of the rich young man who came to Jesus. That Jesus pointed out the difficult. That each person has to make sure they are keeping the first commandment there is nothing that is more important than God in their lives. April

2 Activity Ask the kids the following questions. Then, choose one of them by saying, Prove it! Bring them forward to demonstrate. Who can bounce a basketball 20 times without messing up? Who can eat 6 soda crackers in one minute? Who can throw a paper wad across the room and hit that garbage can? Who can walk around the room rubbing their belly, patting their head, and singing Jesus Loves Me? Who can spread butter on bread using only one hand? Who can put their elbows together behind their back? Who can hang a spoon from their nose for 10 seconds? Who can spin around 10 times fast without getting dizzy? basketball paper wad garbage can 6 soda crackers butter bread plastic knife spoon paper plate We re going to hear about a young man who came to Jesus and said he wanted something. Jesus answer was kind of like saying, Prove it. There was one thing the young man needed to do to prove that he was living the first commandment, You shall have no other gods before Me. Bible Account Divide the kids into two groups. Assign group #1 to say, And Jesus said and group #2 to say, And the rich young man said. Point to the appropriate group when indicated in the story. Beforehand, recruit two adults to say the dialogue. One will be responsible for the #1 quotations and the other adult will be responsible for the #2 quotations. Ask these people to read through the story several times in preparation, so they can add plenty of emotion and inflection, and not appear to be reading. The narrator will tell the part of the story which is not in quotations. Narrator: Group 2: Adult 1: Group 1: Adult 2: Group 2: Adult 1: One day a young man approached Jesus. It was easy to tell that he was wealthy, because he wore expensive clothing. And the rich young man said, Teacher, sir, tell me what good thing I have to do so that I can receive everlasting life. And Jesus said, Why do you ask me about good things? There is only One who is good. And the rich young man said, But is there something else I can do to receive eternal life? 2

3 Group 1: Adult 2: Group 2: Adult 1: Group 1: Adult 2: Group 2: Adult 1: Group 1: Adult 2: Group 2: Narrator: Group 1: Adult 2: And Jesus said, Obey the commandments that God has given. And the rich young man said, Which ones are you talking about? And Jesus said, Do not murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not lie about someone. Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself. And the rich young ruler said, I ve obeyed all of these. What else should I do? And Jesus said, Go sell everything you own and give the money to the poor. Then, come follow me. That will give you treasure in heaven. And the rich young ruler said, Nothing. He hung his head, turned around, and walked away from Jesus. He was sad because he had many possessions and he didn t want to give them up. And Jesus said, Let me tell you something. It is VERY difficult for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Actually, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God. Was the rich young man obeying the first commandment that says you should have no other gods before Me? How was Jesus asking the rich young man to Prove It that God had first place in his life? Science Experiment Beforehand, put lots of salt in one glass of water. Make sure it is dissolved completely. 2 eggs 2 clear glasses of water salt What did Jesus want the rich young man to do? Accept answers. Gently place one egg in the plain water. The egg will go to the bottom of the glass. Jesus wanted to see if the young man was willing to go all the 3

4 way with his devotion to God. The egg went the entire way. For the man to go all the way he would have to prove that his god was not his possessions. Jesus told him he could prove that by selling everything he owned and giving the money to the poor. But what did the rich young man do? Accept answers. Gently place the other egg in the salty water. It will not go to the bottom, but will be suspended halfway or make its way back to the top (depending on the amount of salt you have in the water). The rich young man couldn t go all the way in his devotion. There were other things that were more important to him that he couldn t give up. What got in his way? It was his riches. What do you think got in the way of this egg so that it didn t go all the way to the bottom like the other one? There was salt in the water. There was something in the rich young man s life. What do you think it was? Did God hold first place in the young man s life? The young man said that he had kept the commandments since he was a child, but Jesus pointed out that he hasn t by what he tells him to do. What does Jesus tell him to do? Jesus said to go and sell everything and come follow Him. The first commandment is to worship only the one true God but the man s actions and decisions made it obvious that he was worshipping his possessions instead. Game Show the first slide of the collection of objects. Give the children 20 seconds to view them and try to remember what they saw. The slides that follow will each have one of those objects missing. Look closely to identify what is missing. What s Missing? PowerPoint game To be successful at this game, we had to think about what was missing and study the picture to figure it out. Sometimes the answer came to us quickly. And other times, we needed the help of a friend. We knew something was missing we just weren t sure what it was. How is this game like the story of the rich young man? Message - Part 1 If we re honest, we can all relate to the story of this rich young man. We ve owned things that became too important to us. We ve had things we didn t want to give up. God chose this story to be in the Bible so that we could learn about ourselves, and so we could learn what God expects of us. So, let s see what we can learn. PowerPoint slides #2 and #3 (show slide #2) We must realize something is missing. In the game we just played, we figured out what was missing. But, 4

5 what this rich young man was dealing with was not a thing that was missing. The young man would not have come to Jesus with his question if he hadn t been troubled by the feeling that something was not quite right in his life. He felt like something was missing and he wanted Jesus help. The man was missing the assurance that he was part of the Kingdom of God. What does it feel like when you know your life is not the way God wants it to be? What should we do when we realize that there s something missing in our lives? The rich young man went to Jesus, and we can go to God in prayer to ask Him for answers. (show slide #3) We cannot do our way into heaven. Each time Jesus named one of the commandments, the rich young man checked them off. He had not broken any of the commandments that Jesus listed. He had not murdered anyone. He had not stolen anything. He had been faithful to his wife. He had honored his father and mother. He sounded like an all-round pretty good guy. When Jesus said there was only one thing left, I bet the man was pretty excited. I wonder if he thought, One more thing on my list and I ll have heaven. But the one more thing that Jesus told him was huge to the young man. People today are guilty of doing the same thing, though even people who are believers. We have things on our list like: read our Bibles, memorize scripture, pray, help our neighbor, and go to church. These are all good things, but checking them off our list is not all that God wants. He wants us to prove that we have no other gods before Him that nothing in our lives is more important than Him. Puppet video Today s video element is a puppet show where one puppet has an interesting list that she thinks will help her get closer to God. When a friend tries to show her the truth about what would help her get closer to God, she s not so sure that sounds like a good idea. Our puppet wanted to do her way into heaven; she wanted to mark things off her list in order to receive the Kingdom of Heaven. Show the video It s on the List. video It s on the List 5

6 Message - Part 2 (show slide #4) We may not like Jesus answer. PowerPoint slides #4 The Bible tells us that when the young man heard Jesus answer to his question, What should I do to receive the Kingdom of Heaven? he didn t like what he heard. Jesus told him he had to do something that was going to be really hard for him to do. Jesus could see that the rich young man s possessions were really important to him. All the people in town knew that he was wealthy and treated him special because of that. If he gave all that up, he wouldn t be looked up to in his town. He wouldn t be treated in special ways that only rich people were treated. What do you think the young man thought Jesus answer would be? How do you think God felt when the rich young man turned away? When we ask God for an answer, sometimes it might be the answer we were thinking it would be. But, sometimes His answer may be difficult to accept. It might mean that we have to do something that scares us or makes us uncomfortable or that we just don t really want to do. Let me tell you about two different people who asked God for an answer. Story #1: Molly s husband was a minister and had been contacted about going to Africa as a missionary. Molly was frightened because of the stories she had heard about Africa. Her grown children would be far away and she would miss them if they went to Africa. But, Molly prayed for God s answer. The answer that Molly wanted was for God to say, You don t have to go to Africa, Molly. Instead, God assured Molly that everything would be all right. She went to Africa and fell in love with the people there, because that s what God had planned. Molly followed God s instructions, even though they were difficult. Story #2: Daryl loved his remote control airplanes. Every evening, he rushed home, grabbed some dinner, and then went to the garage to put more airplanes together. On the weekends, he went to remote control airplane shows and to special events where he could show off what he built. His wife and children hardly ever saw him. One day his family talked to him about how they missed him and wished he would spend a little time with them. Daryl prayed that God would give him some direction and God told Daryl that he needed to give up his airplanes. Daryl refused! That was too much for God to ask. Unfortunately, Daryl s wife and children left; years later Daryl realized that he had made his remote control airplanes more important than his family. God told him that, but Daryl wouldn t accept God s answer. When we ask God for an answer, it may mean that we are going to have to change and that can be painful. Be ready to hear God s answer and live by it. 6

7 Game beach towels The more towels you have, the more kids can play at a time. You will need a towel for every two kids. Each kid will grab hold of one end of the towel. At the signal, they ll use the towel as a tug-of-war, with neither player wanting to let go. They are NOT allowed to move their feet, though. When one person lets loose of their hold on the towel or moves their feet, play stops. The person who let go or moved will then share what would be most difficult for them to give up to let go of if Jesus asked them to. Encourage the kids to include their belongings, but to also think beyond their stuff to the things they are involved in, the places they get to go, and their special privileges. What would happen if God asked you to give up ever going out to eat, or your video games, or playing a certain sport? Message - Part 3 PowerPoint slide #5 (show slide #5) It is difficult for someone who is rich to give God first place. Do you know someone who is rich? Ask the children to name people they consider to be rich. Are you rich? If you live in America, more than likely the rest of the world looks at you as rich. So, in the eyes of the world, every one of us is the rich young man of this Bible story. Are our nice homes, our cars, our video games, our vacations taking the place of God in our lives? Are they more important than worshipping the One True God? What did Jesus say about how difficult it is for a rich man to get into heaven? He said it was easier to get a camel through the eye of a needle. Can you imagine that? Activity A local office supply store will have the giant rubber bands that are used around bundles of documents, magazines, etc. If you can t find one of these big rubber bands, then make your own by knotting a rubber band chain together to make a circle. Just in case you need the instructions for making a rubber band chain. Place 2 rubber bands end to end, laying one rubber band slightly over the end of the other so they overlap. Lift the part of the rubber band that is underneath up, over the part of the rubber band that is on top of it, and then through itself (outside the overlapped part). 7 giant rubber band or smaller rubber bands needle

8 Keep pulling it through and tighten. It will form a knot that holds the two rubber bands together. Repeat this knot-tying process by adding one rubber band at a time to the chain. Tie the ends together to make a loop of your desired size. You want the large rubber band or the loop you made to be big enough that a child can stretch it to go through it, but tight enough that it is difficult. This will be our eye of the needle. Choose one child to try to go through the rubber band without any assistance. Start with it over their head and then they will take the rubber band all the way down their body so they can step out of it. If you have multiple rubber bands, then get several kids doing this at the same time. Is the eye of a needle bigger or smaller than our rubber band? Is a camel bigger or smaller than the person who went through the rubber band? Hold up a needle and show how small the eye is. Can you imagine a camel trying to get through this little hole! Jesus was making a point about difficulty when he said that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. That s going to be pretty hard. Does that mean that there are no rich people in heaven? No. Jesus was saying that when people have a lot, they get attached to their stuff. They tend to make their stuff more important than anything else more important than their families, more important than their friends, more important than God. It s very easy for a rich person to make their money and riches into their god. And, it s not easy for them to give them up. Prayer What do you treasure most in this world, outside of your parents and family? Draw a sketch of whatever that is. pencils half-sheets of paper If Jesus came in the room right now to talk with you just you and He asked you to give Him whatever it is that you have drawn, would you quickly hand it over to Him? Would you think about it then give it to Him? Would you try to talk Him out of it? Or would you hold onto it and tell Jesus no for right now? Is this something you are unwilling to give up? Lead the kids in prayer, asking God to speak to their hearts about being totally committed. Ask God to give them willing spirits and to make it clear how important it is to live by the first commandment: You shall have no other gods before Me. Instead of saying Amen, ask the children to respond to this prayer. If 8

9 they can honestly say they would give Jesus whatever they sketched on their paper, then write across that picture, It s yours! Blessing May you have no other gods before our God. 9

10 Game Duplicate this activity so that the kids are playing in small groups, and all of them are having the experience. large piece of paper small pieces of paper 2 pennies Write the first commandment on a large piece of paper so that the words cover the entire paper You shall have no other gods before me. Place the paper on the floor, and then cover the paper with pieces of scrap paper, about 2 x 3. These pieces of paper can be overlapping and laying at angles. Don t try to line them up and match the edges. Determine a stand-behind line. The kids will take turns tossing a penny at the paper. Each time their penny lands on a piece of scrap paper, they can remove the paper and see that part of the commandment is exposed. They will continue tossing until every piece of paper is removed. The rich young man knew the first commandment. When you were tossing, you could tell what it was going to say, even though there were still some pieces of paper laying on top of it. But, I made you remove everything so it was completely clear. It wasn t good enough to have most of the paper removed; it ALL had to be removed. Jesus had to point out to the rich young man what was in the way that kept him from completely understanding what it meant to have no other gods before the One True God. Jesus exposed the rich young man s problem by pointing out that he was not living by the first commandment. His money was his god. Music music DVDs Yancy has provided you with two great worship songs on DVDs with words and graphics. This Changes Everything is especially appropriate for today s lesson. The rich young man thought he had it all figured out, and that maybe Jesus was going to tell him one more thing he could do. What Jesus pointed out was not so much what he could do, but how the man s heart needed to change. The other song your kids will love worshipping along with is Paid in Full. Check out more of Yancy s music at yancynotnancy.com. 10

11 Scripture Memory Galatians 3:22 (NLT) The Scriptures have declared that we are all prisoners of sin, so the only way to receive God s promise is to believe in Jesus Christ. large needles thread What was the young man a prisoner to? What held him captive so that he could not receive God s promise? He was sinning against God by making his riches the god that he worshipped. The young man had a god before the One True God, which meant that he was disobeying the first commandment, You shall have no gods before Me. It s crazy to even think about getting a camel through the eye of a needle! We re going to try just getting a piece of thread through the eye of the needle. That s what is supposed to fit, but even that can be a little challenging. Get some large needles that have rounded tips. (These can be purchased in the piece goods/sewing section of any discount department store.) Give each team one needle and a piece of thread. At the signal, one member of each team will try to thread their needle. The first person to do this successfully will yell, NO! N-O, gods before Me! Then, that person will lead their entire team in saying the verse being memorized. Continue on with other members of the team trying to thread their needle. (Give each new participate a fresh piece of thread.) Object Lesson Put an air gauge, thermometer, report card, and bathroom scale out where the kids can get a good look at them. What do these have in common? Encourage the kids to think of something they all do. air gauge thermometer report card bathroom scale They are all used to tell you how you re doing. The air gauge tells you how the air in your tires is doing and if you need to stop to put more air in them. The thermometer tells you how your temperature is doing and if you need to go to the doctor. The report card tells you how you re doing in each subject and which ones you need to study harder. And, the bathroom scale tells you how you re doing on your diet. When Jesus told the rich young man that he should sell everything and give the money to the poor, he was telling the man how he was doing. The young man thought he was doing fine. He knew there was something missing, but he never dreamed that it would mean giving up everything he owned. Think of the thermometer. Let s say you know you have a fever, so you take your temperature. You thought it was probably around 100 degrees, but when you took it, the thermometer said 104 degrees! That s not what you expected; it means you need to go to the doctor immediately. You thought you would just need to go to bed for the day, but once you used the thermometer, you knew the 11

12 problem was a lot bigger and required more attention than you expected. Now, you have the choice of whether you re going to go to the doctor or if you re not going to pay attention to what the thermometer said. Jesus pointed out what the rich young man needed to do and it involved more than the man expected. He made his choice, and he decided not to do anything about how Jesus said he was doing. 12

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