Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Art Collector

As a follow up to yesterdays post on Jesus Christ our Savior and Redeemer, I remembered an old story that I had on file that illustrates an aspect of the Atonement in a different way. Please be warned, it may seem a little cheesy, and may have been sent to me in what I would term "Internet Spam", but it has a wonderful message. I would give credit to the author, but unfortunately I do not know who that is. Feel free to share that information with me if you know and I will gladly give credit to them.

Being warned....here it is:


Years ago, there was a very wealthy man who, with his devoted young son, shared a passion for art collecting. Together they traveled 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 elderly 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 one particular 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 informing him that the young man had died while rushing a fellow soldier to a medic. Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming Christmas holidays with anguish and sadness.

On Christmas morning, the depressed old man was awakened by a knock on the door. Upon opening it, he was greeted by a soldier with a large package in his hand. The soldier said, "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." Inside, as the two began to talk, the solider told of how the man's son had often told everyone 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, he saw a portrait of his 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, pushing aside thousands of dollars of paintings, the old man hung the newly acquired portrait where promised. The rest of the day the man sat in his chair gazing at the gift he had been given.

During the days and weeks that followed, the man learned 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 works of the masters.

The following spring, the old man became ill and eventually passed away. With no surviving relatives to inherit his collection, it was announced that the paintings would be sold at an auction. In fact, according to the will of the old man, all of the art works would be auctioned on Christmas Day.

When the long anticipated day arrived, eager art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on these most spectacular paintings. However, the auction began with a painting that was not on any museum's list. It was the painting of the man's son. When the auctioneer asked for an opening bid, the room was silent. "Who will open the bidding with $100?" he asked. Minutes passed, but no one spoke.

"It's just a picture of his son. Let's forget it and go on to the good stuff, " someone yelled out. More voices echoed in agreement.

"No, we have to sell this one first," replied the auctioneer. "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? They're worth millions of dollars! 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."

The message is still the same for us today. Because of a Father's love for His Son who went away and gave his life rescuing others, whoever takes the Son gets it all.

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