There once was a fabulously wealthy man who loved his son above all things. To stay close to his son, they began to build an art collection together. Every spare minute, they were out at auctions and sales acquiring rare works of art: everything from Picasso to Raphael. By the time the Vietnam conflict broke out , they built one of the rarest most valuable collections in the world. A letter came one day informing the son he had been drafted. The father offered to pull some strings, but the son felt compelled to serve his country as his father and grandfather did before him.
The son went off to war, but he wrote his dad everyday. One day the letters stopped. The father’s worst fears were realized when he received a telegram from the war department informing him his son had been killed while attempting to rescue another soldier. About six months later, there was a knock at the door. A young soldier with a large package under his arm said, “Sir, you don’t know me, but I am the man your son saved on that faithful day he died deep in the jungles of Viet Nam. He had already saved many lives that day, and as he was carrying me off the battlefield, he was shot through the heart and died instantly.
Your son was my friend and we spent many a lonely night “in country talking about you and your love for art.” The young soldier held out his package and said, “I know this isn’t much and I’m not much of an artist, but I wanted you to have this painting I’ve done of your son as I last remember him. The father tore open the package and fought back the tears as he gazed at a portrait of his one and only son. He said, “You have captured the essence of my son’s smile in this painting and I will cherish it above all others.” The father hung the portrait over his mantle. When visitors came to his home, he always drew attention to the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other masterpieces.
When the father died the news went out that the entire collection was being offered at an exclusive private auction. Collectors and art experts from around the world gathered for the chance of purchasing one of them. The first painting on the auction block was the soldier’s modest rendering of his son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel and asked someone to start the bidding. The sophisticated crowd scoffed and demanded the Van Gogh’s and the Rembrandts be brought forth. The auctioneer persisted. “Who will start the bidding? $200? $100?” The crowd continued to turn up their noses, waiting to see the more serious paintings. Still the auctioneer solicited, “The son! The son! Who will take the son? Finally a squeaky voice from the back said, “I’ll bid $10 for the son.” The bidder was none other than the young soldier the son had died saving. He said, “I didn’t come to buy anything and all I have is $10 to my name, but I bid it all.” The auctioneer continued seeking a higher bid, but the angry crowd began to chant, “Sell it to him and let’s get on with the auction.”
The auctioneer pounded the gavel and sold the painting for the bid of $10. An eager buyer from the second row bellowed, “Finally, on with the auction.” And just then the auctioneer said, “The auction is now officially closed.” The hostile crowd demanded to know how after coming, all this way could the auction possibly be over? The president of the auctioning company came to the microphone and said, “When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a stipulation in the will I could not divulge until now. According to the wishes of the deceased only the painting of the son was to be sold today and whoever takes the son gets it all. So today, for $10 this young man has bought one of the world’s most priceless art collections and the entire estate in which it is housed — auction closed.” And with the swing of the gavel, the crowd sat in stunned silence staring at the young soldier.
Paul said in Romans 8:17, And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
THE SON! THE SON! TAKE THE SON….AND GET IT ALL!