Thursday, December 24, 2009
A wealthy man and his son had a passionate love for rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. Some times they would sit together for hours, admiring the paintings.
The son served in the Vietnam war and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.
A month latter, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door holding a package. He said, "Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when he was shot and killed. He often talked about you, and your love for art." The young man held out his package. "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 portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so filled with emotion 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 the 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 he had collected.
The man died a few months latter. A time and date was set to auction off his paintings. A who's who of influential people gathered, excited to see the great paintings and to have an opportunity to purchase one for their collection. The painting of the son was displayed on the platform. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. "We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?" There was silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, "We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this 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 Goghs, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real art!" But still the auctioneer persisted, "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'll bid $20?"
"Give it to him for $10. Let's see the masters."
"$10 is the bid, won't someone bid $20?"
The crowd was becoming angry. They didn't want the picture of the son. They wanted more worthy investments for their collections. The auctioneer pounded the gavel. "Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!"
A man sitting on 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."
"But what about the paintings?"
"I 'm sorry, when I was called to conduct this auction, I was informed of a stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to disclose that stipulation until now. 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 it all!"
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?"
You see, whoever takes the Son gets everything!