Portrait of a Son
A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection from Rembrandt's to Van Gogh's. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art. When the Vietnam War broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died while saving the life of another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.
About a month later, around 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 your son gave his life. He saved the lives of many men that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he was killed 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've wanted you to have this." The father opened the package. It was a 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. The father was drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for it. "Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me, its a gift."
The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time a visitor came, he directed them to the painting of his son, recounting the story, before taking them to see any other works of art.
The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of all his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited to see the vast collections of Picassos and Raphaels the man had amassed and having the oppurtunity to bid on the collection. On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. "Who will start the bidding on the picture of the son? Who will bid for the son?"
There was silence. Then a voice from the back of the room said, "We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one."
But the auctioneer persisted. "Who will start the bidding, $100, $200?"
Another voice shouted angrily. "We didn't come to see this painting. We came to see the Rembrandts and Van Gogh's. Get on with the real bids!"
But still the auctioneer continued. "The son, the son! Who will take the son?"
Finally, a voice came from the back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man. "I'll give $10 for the picture."
Being a poor man, it was all he could afford. "We have $10, who'll give $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 the more worthy investments for their collections. The auctioneer pounded his gavel.
"Going once, going twice, sold for $10" A man on the front row shouted "Now lets 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 conduct this 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 valuable 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 is, "The Son, the Son, who'll take the Son?" because, you see, whoever takes the Son, gets everything!
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