Series: Short Stories with Jesus
Message: Failing Faces
Preacher: Dena King
Reflection: David Oceguera
Live Wonder: Jessyka Albert
Live Adventure: Jessyka Albert
Live Purpose: Jason Calvert
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Mark 10:17-27 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Have you noticed that anytime you buy an electronic device you are always asked if you want to protect it by purchasing insurance? These stores know that fear is a great motivator for us to spend the few extra dollars to get the insurance. I have purchased insurance for every phone I have ever owned and only used it once. We keep buying the insurance because our human nature desires security.
In this story, we see that the man’s wealth gave him a great sense of security. Jesus’ response was not meant to be a prescriptive text about the evils of wealth. Jesus was simply pointing out that this man’s wealth was keeping him from living life to the fullest. That is, after all, what he was ultimately searching for. This is clear because we know he was wealthy and lacked nothing, yet he still came to Jesus to ask about inheriting eternal life. All of his wealth could not satisfy the deepest yearning of his soul to experience a fuller faith. Sometimes the things we clutch for security keep us from the life God created us to live.
When Jesus tells this rich man to sell all that he has and give it to the poor, it is not without the promise that he will have treasure in heaven (v. 21). Jesus never leaves us empty handed when He calls us to let go of the things that get in the way of following Him. Sadly, our human perception is so limited that we keep holding onto these things because we cannot image that life could be better without them. In his book The Weight of Glory C.S. Lewis writes about how much we miss out when we refuse to imagine the world God invites us into. “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
The rich man’s wealth and the safety and security it brought kept him from surrendering his life to Jesus. The paradox of faith is that though we give up the things that give us security, we find the surest form of security in following Jesus. The rich man went away disheartened and sorrowful because he could not imagine a world beyond his wealth, and in the process he missed out on life at its fullest.
Recalibrate: What are the things you keep holding onto that promise to provide you security in this life?
Respond: Pray that God would help you let go of the things that promise security and hold onto the One in whom true security is found.
Research: Read John 10:1-10 and consider the promise of Jesus that he has come to give us an abundant life.
Remember: “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” —Mark 10:27 (NIV)
David Oceguera is senior pastor of the Orange Seventh-day Adventist church in Orange, California. He and his wife Kara write a weekly blog called “In Pursuit of Love” which gives practical real life tools for healthier, happier marriages.
What makes your child feel safe? Is it a special stuffed animal or a blanket? Use that object to describe the safety and security that Jesus gives us. Let them know that even if they didn’t have their special toy, Jesus would still be there keeping them safe and protecting them.
Do you know what a back-up plan is? A back-up plan is something that you can use if your best plan doesn’t work out. In this Bible story, do you think the man’s back-up plan is all his money and stuff or do you think his back-up plan is Jesus? Why?
In the story, the successful dude thinks he’s doing everything right when it comes to his relationship with God. Bu then Jesus totally highlights the reality that this guy hasn’t yet decided who Jesus is—a good teacher or God. He provides a “to-do” list by quoting commandments. What’s interesting is which commandments Jesus references. Jesus doesn’t task the man with the first four (highlighting a relationship with God), but rather commandments 5-10. The “to-do’s” for a relationship with God actually are connected with how we love and treat people. How do you respect, honor, trust and be trustworthy, for people? According to Jesus, this “to-do” should be done.