Daily Worship

Falling flat

John Povey February 27, 2024 3 2
Image credit: Unsplash
Listen to this daily worship

Luke 18: 18-27 (NRSVA)

18 A certain ruler asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ 19 Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 20 You know the commandments: “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honour your father and mother.”’ 21 He replied, ‘I have kept all these since my youth.’ 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, ‘There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ 23 But when he heard this, he became sad; for he was very rich. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, ‘How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, 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 Those who heard it said, ‘Then who can be saved?’ 27 He replied, ‘What is impossible for mortals is possible for God.’

Today we meet someone any congregation would be pleased to have as a member. The rich young ruler. He was young. Great place to start. He was a ruler. The term is not specific, but it points to someone in a position of influence in spite of his youthfulness. He was rich. Enough said! Next, he was from a good background. He tried to keep the Ten Commandments, and he did a good job of it too. Here was a fine upstanding young man, a pillar of the community, the kind that any church would surely lift up as an example…

He was confident too, but only up to a point. There was something lacking, and he couldn’t put his finger on it. So Jesus helped him. He pointed out that this man’s particular problem was being shackled to his riches. When challenged to take a leap of faith and imagine what life would be like if he gave it all away, he fell flat! He just couldn’t do it. He might have joined Jesus and the disciples on a voyage of spiritual adventure and discovery. Instead he walked away alone. The rich young ruler is a warning to us all.  Faith is not about pulling away on our own, it’s about leaping forward together. And the things that we value are not always what heaven values.




Lord, your Son left the riches of heaven and became poor for our sake. When we prosper, save us from pride. When we are needy, save us from despair. Whatever our circumstances, help us to trust in you alone. Teach us what we must do to know the fulness of life which you offer in Jesus. May we see as you see. May we desire what you desire.  Help us to walk with you and with our fellow Christians in faith. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.