Summary: The person who wants his life to make a difference for others and be pleasing to God must hold nothing back.

Title: Sad Man Walking

Text: Mark 10:17-31

Thesis: If you want your life to count, hold nothing back.

(The idea for this message originated from a message by the same title in a series of stewardship messages written by Bryan Wilkerson, pastor of Grace Chapel in Lexington, MA, Preaching


I say this tongue-in-cheek… this week I have been exposed to a number of things that matter a great deal…

• Are you aware that K-Fed plays the part of a fast-food worker in a commercial that will be aired during the Super Bowl this evening and that, according to the President of the National Restaurant Association, he has directly insulted the 12.8 million people who work in the restaurant industry? How often does a person have the chance to offend nearly 13 million restaurant industry workers?

• Joseph Biden received a lesson in political correctness this week when he attempted to make complimentary remarks about the candidacy of Barak Obama saying he is “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice looking guy…” Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were not pleased. (Consequently, K-Fed and Senator Biden have spent a great deal of time apologizing for their insensitivity.)

• And, did you know that Consumer Report has declared McDonald’s Premium Roast Coffee the best coffee in a taste test over Burger King, Dunkin’ Donut, Starbucks coffees. My world is unraveling…

In some ways the world does seem to be unraveling and I do not mean to make light of the fact that there are some very critical issues that are of grave concern in our world today.

One of the reasons I attempt to practice a daily devotional ritual and one of the reasons I attend church… is to keep reminding myself that there are things in life that truly matter. And that there are things that are of ultimate concern and eternal consequence.

This morning I will be making a number of assertions… I will be assertions about things that matter that arise from the biblical text we are examining today. It is the story of The Rich Young Ruler.

The first principle that emerges from the text is this:

I. Everyone in this room today, to a greater or lesser degree, has what the Rich Young Ruler had going for him.

What do we know about the man at the center of our story?

• He was sincere about his faith - A man came to Jesus and knelt down… “Teacher,” the man said, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was a child.” Mark 10:17-20

• He was had money - “…he had many possessions.” Mark 10:22

• He was young - “But when the young man heard this he went away…” Matthew 19:22

• He was gifted - “Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question…” Luke 18:18

He had a faith, money, youth, and ability.

We are all sincere about practicing our faith or we would not be here. By virtue of the fact that 1.3 billion people in the world live on less than one dollar a day, we are all comparatively affluent. We are all alive… we all have time. And we are all capable of serving God and others in some way.

The second principle is this:

II. Even the most wealthy, youthful, and gifted wrestle with the ultimate question.

“Teacher, what should I do to get eternal life?” Mark 10:17

The devout, rich, young and talented man had something on his mind. What

was the nature of the questions he posed to Jesus?

He wanted to know what he had to do to inherit eternal life? When he says “get” he is speaking of an inheritance. To inherit means to “receive by lot.” His perception was that eternal life was a God-given gift, i.e., an inheritance. He was asking Jesus what he needed to do to be sure that eternal life would be his lot.

A woman’s husband passed away and left her $20,000. She told a friend that after all of the funeral expenses the entire inheritance was gone. “But how could that be? the friend asked. “Well,” she said, “I paid $8,000 to the funeral director and the memorial stone cost me $12,000.” “My goodness,” said the friend, “just how big was the stone?” The widow smiled and said, “3 carats.”

What the young man was essentially asking was, how can I stay in the good graces of my benefactor… in this case, God, so I can be sure of an inheritance?

The third principle that emerges from the text is this:

III. Jesus is not insensitive to the fact that his followers, and particularly his affluent followers, may have to make difficult choices

“Jesus felt genuine love for this man as he looked at him. ‘You lack only one thing… go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor and then you will have treasure in heaven. And then follow me.” Mark 10:21

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