Hands Holding Heart Resized

The One Thing

Article Type: Pastor to Pastor

By Rev. Phillip Leo, Church Communications Director

“Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ he said.” (Mark 10:21, NIV)

Jesus loved the rich young ruler. This man was literally so close to the Kingdom of God. He chased it down. Finding Jesus and falling to his knees, he begged Him to share the secret of the Kingdom. 

But there’s one thing that caused this man to walk away from the Savior. Jesus tells him to go and sell everything he owns. He must do this in order to possess the Kingdom. But the man cannot; his face falls and he sadly walks away.

Let’s be clear, Jesus has point isn’t to live in abject poverty. Instead, it’s to trust God for your security and future, more than anything or anyone else.

The one thing is a believing heart. 

The “tell” for Jesus when it came to this man’s unbelief was his wealth. Jesus spots it right away. When wealth is the goal, it sticks out like a sore thumb. Others may be fooled, but Jesus isn’t.

This is why Jesus says that it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich person to enter God’s Kingdom. A believing heart can’t be purchased online with next-day delivery. It can’t be built by human hands because it’s a gift only God can give.

The disciples are flabbergasted by this. “How can anyone be saved?,” they wonder. But Jesus assures them that a believing heart is entirely possible with God. The great and small, the rich and poor are born again by God’s goodness alone.

The “tell” for a believing heart is generosity. It’s open-handed living and giving, instead of tight-fisted striving and hoarding. This life is the aroma of Christ Jesus Himself. It’s unmistakable.

The one thing that allows you to live continually in His grace and truth is a believing heart. Even more, it’s the one thing that allows you to possess the Kingdom.


Barnabas Foundation is proud to be your partner in promoting financial literacy and generous giving at your church. Find articles, books, studies and more for your church under Tools and Resources. You can also email me at pleo@BarnabasFoundation.com or call 888.448.3040. 

Rev. Phillip Leo is the Church Communications Director at Barnabas Foundation. Read Phil's online bio