Years ago, a wealthy man and his devoted young son shared a passion for art collecting. Together they traveled and collected fine art from around the world. Works by Picasso, Van Gogh and Monet hung on the walls of their estate. The widowed elderly man looked with satisfaction at his only son & his work. They not only loved fine art. They loved one another.
One winter their nation went to war. The young man left his Father in order to serve his country. But after a few weeks, the father received a telegram. His beloved son was missing in action. The art collector anxiously waited for news concerning his son. Within days, his fears were confirmed, his son died saving a soldier’s life.
Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming Christmas holidays with anguish and sadness. No longer would he behold the face of his son. On Christmas morning a knock on the door awakened the depressed Father. As he walked to the door, he passed masterpieces which reminded him of his son. As he opened the door he was greeted by a soldier carrying a large package.
The soldier introduced himself by saying, “I was a friend of your son. I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in? I have something to show you.” The soldier told the elderly man how the son had loved his father and how he talked about the mutual love each had for fine art. At this point the soldier opened the package; it was a portrait of the son.
Though the world would never consider it a work of genius, the painting featured the young man’s face in striking detail. The father was overcome. After the soldier left, the elderly man hung the picture above the fireplace. He pushed aside millions worth of art to give prominence to the portrait. All Christmas day he stared upon the precious gift.
During the days and weeks that followed reports came about how his son’s life had touched so many; how he had rescued or protected many. Stories of his son’s gallantry filled him with fatherly pride and eased his pain. The painting of his son soon became his most prized possession. He told his neighbors it was the greatest gift he had ever received.
The following spring, the old man became ill and died. The art world, knowing that the man’s son was dead, awaited eagerly the auction of his great art. According to the will of the old man, the auction would be held Christmas. As expected, art collectors from around the world gathered to bid. On that day, dreams would be fulfilled.
The auction began with a painting that was not on any museum’s list. It was the painting of the man’s son. The auctioneer asked for a bid. Silence. “Who will open the bidding with $100?” He asked. No one spoke. Someone yelled, “Who cares about the picture of a son. Get on with the good stuff.” Voices echoed in agreement but the auctioneer repeated, “This picture is first.”
“Now who will take the son? Finally, a neighbor of the old man spoke. “Will you take $10? That’s all I have. I knew the boy and I’d like to have it.” “I have ten dollars. Will anyone go higher,” called the auctioneer. After more silence, the auctioneer said, “Going once, twice, gone.” The gavel fell.
Cheers filled the room. Someone exclaimed, “Now we can get on with it.” The auctioneer looked at the audience and announced that the auction was over. The crowd was stunned with disbelief. Someone asked, “Why? We didn’t come here for a picture of some old guy’s son. What about all of these paintings? There are millions worth of art.”
The auctioneer replied, “It’s very simple. According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son gets it all.”
In John 3:16 the Bible says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him will never perish but have everlasting life.”