In Matthew 19:16-28, Jesus uses the meeting with the rich young ruler to illustrate the need for us to depend on God alone.

Key Points:

  • God should always be first in our lives.
  • Wealth isn’t the problem, but to trust in wealth rather than God.
  • We should use what we have to glorify God.

Lesson Guide – The Rich Young Ruler

Ask the child if they would ever give up something for something greater. Discuss if it would be worth it to give up something small (doll, candy, toy truck) for something greater (bike, exciting vacation, etc.)

Read Matthew 19:16-28.

Ask about the choice that the young man made. Explain that when given a choice between temporary or permanent happiness, he chose temporary. Talk about a time you had a splinter. Discuss how pulling it out might hurt for a little time, but ultimately, removing the splinter freed you from pain, infection etc.

The rich young man had an easier life for a while, but choosing not to follow Jesus would be a choice with eternal consequences. Talk more about how God should be most important in our lives. Discuss the many reasons that God is most important.

Jesus also said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Some people believe that this “eye of the needle” was a small crawl entrance into the city where people had to leave their belongings outside to enter safely. To illustrate this, have the child try to crawl through a small gap while carrying a big bag, which will be impossible. Then have them crawl through without the bag to show how it becomes easier. This activity shows that clinging to our possessions can keep us from fully following Jesus.

Talk a bit more about wealth. Explain that it is not bad when used properly. In fact, wealth can be good. Point out that an oven can be used to heat food and make it good and safe to eat. Then point out that an oven can burn someone or destroy things when not used properly. Discuss other items that can be used for good when used correctly or damaging when used incorrectly. For example, a hammer, a car, wooden blocks, etc. Encourage the child to think about and come up with some ideas. Use this to help them understand that the young man’s wealth wasn’t the problems but rather that he trusted the wealth more than God.

Talk about how anything we trust in other than God can be taken away. We can lose our money, health, homes, etc. But God will never leave or forsake His people. God will reward those who trust in Him with an eternal reward.

Discuss what it means to give up something for your faith. Maybe a song, popular book, or watching a new movie that is popular with friends, but not glorifying to God. Discuss what the child should do when faced with a choice where they must do what God commands or what will make them have friends, money, or something else desirable.

Talk to the child about balance. Have them balance a ruler on their hand (you can demonstrate if needed). Use this to discuss balancing our material and spiritual lives. Explain it’s important to work, eat, and take care of our bodies, but it’s even more important to prioritise our spiritual life. Discuss why we shouldn’t neglect our physical needs but also shouldn’t let them overshadow our faith. Lead a discussion on the importance of maintaining a healthy balance in life.

Talk about wealth that God has given to your family. This can be both things, skills, etc. Talk about ways that your family can share the wealth. Perhaps by making a donation to a ministry, but also by donating time to make cookies for a neighbour, craft a card, or other service. Commit to trusting God in first place with your things, time and skills.

The Rich Young Ruler – Bible story for kids

Games and Activities

Camel and Needle Obstacle Course

Set up an obstacle course with chairs, blankets, and pillows to represent the difficulty of getting a camel through the eye of a needle.

Have the children try to navigate the course while carrying a large bag or pillow.

Then, let them try the course without the extra burden.

Discuss how it’s easier to follow Jesus when we don’t let our possessions weigh us down.

Trust Walk

Pair the children up and have one child blindfolded while the other guides them through an obstacle course.

Switch roles after completing the course.

Talk about how we need to trust God to guide us, just like they trusted their partner.

Needle and Thread Challenge

Give each child a large plastic needle and a piece of wool.

Show them how to thread the wool through the needle and sew through the holes in the paper plate.

Explain how this activity is like the story, where Jesus said it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter heaven.

Discuss the idea of focusing on God’s kingdom rather than material possessions.

Example pages

Download free printable lesson packs for kids on The Rich Young Ruler! Perfect for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, 5-year-olds, and teens. Includes worksheets, story pages, lesson guides, games, coloring crafts, and more. Ideal for parents and teachers. Get your free printables now at Trueway Kids!

Camel through the eye of a needle craft

What you need:

  • Template page
  • Wool
  • Colouring equipment
  • Hole-punch
  • Scissors
  • Tape

What to do:

  1. Colour the template page.
  2. Cut out the pieces.  Punch a hole in the needle.
  3. Cut a length of wool. Tape one end to the rich man’s hand, thread it through the needle, and tape the other end to the camel.

Download the lessons for FREE


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