Years ago, there was a very wealthy man who, with his devoted young
son, shared a passion for art collecting. Together they traveled around
the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection.
Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet and many others adorned the
walls of the family estate.
The widowed elder man looked on with satisfaction, as his only child
became an experienced art collector. The son's trained eye and sharp
business mind caused his father to beam with pride as they dealt with
art collectors around the world.
As winter approached, war engulfed the nation, and the young man left
to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, his father received
a telegram. His beloved son was missing in action. The art collector
anxiously awaited more news, fearing he would never see his son again.
Within days, his fears were confirmed. The young man had died while
rushing a fellow soldier to a medic.
Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming Easter holidays
with anguish and sadness. The joy of the season, a season that he and
his son had so looked forward to, would visit his house no longer. On
Easter morning, a knock on the door awakened the depressed old man. As
he walked to the door, the masterpieces of art on the walls only
reminded him that his son was not coming home. As he opened the door,
he was greeted by a soldier with a large package in his hand. He
introduced himself to the man by saying, "I was a friend of your son. I
was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments? I
have something to show you."
As the two began to talk, the soldier told of how the man's son had
told every one of his father's love of fine art. "I'm an artist," said
the soldier, "and I want to give you this." As the old man unwrapped the
package, the paper gave way to reveal a portrait of the man's son.
Though the world would never consider it the work of a genius, the
painting featured the young man's face in striking detail.
Overcome with emotion, the man thanked the soldier, promising to hang
the picture above the fireplace. A few hours later, after the soldier
had departed, the old man set about his task.
True to his word, the painting went above the fireplace, pushing aside
thousands of dollars of paintings. And then the man sat in his chair
and spent Easter gazing at the gift he had been given. During the days
and weeks that followed, the man realized that even though his son was no
longer with him, the boy's life would live on because of those he had
touched. He would soon learn that his son had rescued dozens of wounded
soldiers before a bullet stilled his caring heart.
As the stories of his son's gallantry continued to reach him, fatherly
pride and satisfaction began to ease the grief. The painting of his son
soon became his most prized possession, far eclipsing any interest in
the pieces for which museums around the world clamored.
He told his neighbors it was the greatest gift he had ever received.
The following spring, the old man became ill and passed away. The art
world was in anticipation.
With the collector's passing, and his only son dead, those paintings
would be sold at an auction. According to the will of the old man, all
of the art works would be auctioned on Easter Day, the day he had
received his greatest gift.
The day soon arrived and art collectors from around the world gathered
to bid on some of the world's most spectacular paintings. Dreams would
be fulfilled this day; greatness would be achieved as many would claim
"I have the greatest collection." 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 an opening bid. The room was silent. "Who will
open the bidding with $100?" he asked. Minutes passed. No one spoke.
From the back of the room came, "Who cares about that painting? It's
just a picture of his son. Let's forget it and go on to the good stuff."
More voices echoed in agreement. "No, we have to sell this one first," replied the
"Now, who will take the son?" Finally, a friend of the old man spoke.
"Will you take ten dollars for the painting? That's all I have. I knew
the boy, so 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, going twice. Gone."
The gavel fell. Cheers filled the room and someone exclaimed, "Now we can
get on with it and we can bid on these treasures!" The auctioneer looked at
the audience and announced the auction was over.
Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Someone spoke up and asked, "What
do you mean it's over? We didn't come here for a picture of some old
guy's son. What about all of these paintings? There are millions of dollars
of art here! I demand that you explain what's going on here!" The
auctioneer replied, "It's very simple. According to the will of the
father, whoever takes the son . . . gets it all!"
What could be more valuable than the great works carried out by the Son?
What he did to help those less fortunate than himself was far more vaulable
to his father than a few expensive paintings hanging on the wall. And the man who
purchased the painting of the Son, because he valued what the Son had done,
eventually got his rich reward.
Just as those art collectors discovered on that Easter Day, the message
is still the same - the love of a Father - a Father whose greatest joy
came from His Son who went away and gave his life rescuing others. And
because of that Father's love...whoever takes the Son gets it all.
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