Friday, April 2, 2010

The Art Collection

There was a wealthy man who, along with his devoted son, shared a passion for fine art. Together they traveled around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet and many other artists adorned the walls of the family estate. The son's trained eye and sharp business mind caused his widowed father to look on with satisfaction as his only child became an experienced art collector.

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 had died while rescuing another soldier. Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the future with anguish and sadness. The masterpieces of art on the walls only reminded him that his son was not coming home.

One morning, a knock on the door awakened the depressed old man. 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 was carrying me to safety when he died.

The old man invited the soldier in. As they talked, the young man related how the man's son had often talked about his, and his father's, love of art. "I know this isn't much, I'm not a great artist," said the young man, "but 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. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the son's face in striking detail. 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." Overcome with emotion, the man thanked the soldier, promising to hang the picture above the fireplace.

After the soldier departed, the old man set about his task. True to his word, the painting went above the mantle, pushing aside thousands of dollars worth of paintings.

As the stories of his son rescuing dozens of wounded soldiers began to surface, 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, and his grief began to ease. The painting of his son 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. Since he had no heir, all his paintings were to be sold at auction, and the art world was abuzz with anticipation.

The appointed 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 now 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 someone said, "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 auctioneer. "The son! 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. Sold!" The gavel fell.

Cheers filled the room and someone exclaimed, "Now we can get on with it and start bidding on these treasures!"

The auctioneer laid down his gavel, 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 worth of art here!"

The auctioneer replied, "It's very simple. According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son, gets it all."

-Author Unknown

Will you take the Son?

"For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Have a blessed Easter.

1 comment:

CousinK said...

Wonderful story Wonderful Message! Easter blessings to you and yours!