A wealthy man and his son loved to collect artwork, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire them. When Vietnam came, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.
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’m the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He often talked about you, and your love for art.” The young man held out his package. “I know this isn’t much. 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 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.” 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 couple of years later. There was a big auction of his paintings. Several influential people showed up, excited about seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to buy for their collection. On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. “We’ll start the bidding with this picture of the son.” There was silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted. “We want to see the master paintings. Skip this one.” But the auctioneer persisted. “Will someone bid on this painting?” Another voice shouted angrily, “We didn’t come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts!” But still the auctioneer continued.
Finally, a voice came from the back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. “I’ll give $100 for the painting.” “We have $100, who will bid $200?” “Give it to him for $100. Let’s see the masters,” some yelled. The crowd was becoming angry. They wanted to see the investment art. The auctioneer said, “Going once, twice, SOLD for $100!” A man sitting on the second row shouted, “Let’s get on with the collection!” The auctioneer laid down his gavel. “I’m sorry, the auction is over. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation to be revealed at this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings.” God gave His son 2,000 years ago to die on a cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is, “Who’ll take the son?” Because whoever takes God’s Son, gets everything.