Take The Son

       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 Vietnam conflict broke out, 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.

       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 your 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 this 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. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the
personality of his son 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 he had collected. The man died a few
months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many
influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and
having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection.

       On the platform sat the painting of the son. 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
somebody bid for this painting. Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?"
Another voice angrily. "We didn't come to see this painting. We came to see
the Van Goghs, 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

       "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 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." "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 paintings. The man who took the son gets everything!"

       God gave His son 2,000 years ago to die on the 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.





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