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Who’ll take the son?

August 11, 2008

by Dr. Phil Goeffrion, Albion Evangelical Free Church, rural Cokato

The story is told of a wealthy man and his son who loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael, and would often sit together and admire the great works of art.

When the Viet Nam 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 on the door. A young man stood there 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 saved many lives that day, and as he was carrying me to safety, 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 his package. “I know it isn’t much. I’m not 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 at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to his son’s 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 shouted, “We didn’t come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Goghs and 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 $100 for the painting.” Being a man of little means, that was all he could afford.

“We have $100. Who’ll make it $200?”

“Give it to him for $100. Let’s see the masters.”

“$100 is the bid. Won’t somebody bid $200?”

The crowd became 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 $100!”

A man sitting in 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 over 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 has everything!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3.16)

Who’ll take the Son? Will you?