A wealthy man and his son loved to
collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from
Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great
works of art.
When the Viet Nam conflict broke out,
the son went to war. He was a very courageous soldier and died in the
field while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved
deeply for the loss of his son.
About a month later, just before
Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door
with a large package in his hands. He said, "Sir, you don't know me,
but I am the soldier for whom you son gave his life. He saved many lives
that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart
and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for
art. The young man held out his package. "I know this isn't
much and I'm not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted
you to have this." The father opened the package. It was a
portrait of his son, painted by the young man. The personality of his son
was in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes
welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for
the picture. "oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for
me, it's a gift." The father hung the portrait over his mantle.
Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son
before he showed them any of the other great works they had collected.
A few months later the man died.
There was to be an auction of his paintings. Many influential people
gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having the opportunity to
to purchase one for their collection. On the platform sat the painting of
the son. The Auctioneer pounded his gavel. "We will begin the
bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this
picture?" There was silence. Then a voice from the back of the
room shouted "We want to see the famous painting, skip that one"
But the auctioneer persisted.
"Will someone bid for this painting? Who will start the
bidding? $100, $200?." Another voice shouted angrily, "we
didn't come to see this painting, we came to see the Van Goughs and the
Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids." But still the
auctioneer continued. "The son, the son, who'll take the son?"
Finally a voice came from the very back
of the room. It was the longtime Gardener of the man and his son.
"I'll give $10 for the painting." Being a poor man it was all he
could afford. "We have $10, who will bid $20?" "Give
it to him for $10, shouted someone in the room, let's see the
masters." "$10 dollars is the bid, won't someone bid $20?"
The crowd was becoming angry. They
didn't want the picture of the son. The wanted the more worthy investments
for their collections.
The Auctioneer pounded his gavel.
"Going once, twice, SOLD, for $10. A man sitting in the second row
shouted, "now let's get on with the collection!" The Auctioneer
laid down his gavel. "I'm sorry, the auction is over."
"What about the paintings?" "I am sorry...when I was called
to do the auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was
not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting
of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit
the entire estate, including the paintings. "The man who took the
son, gets everything!"
God gave his son 2,000 years ago to die
on a cruel cross. Much like the Auctioneer, his message today is,
"the son, the son, who'll take the son?" Because, you see,
whoever takes the son gets everything!