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Take the Son:


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 their 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 winter approached, war engulfed their nation, and the young man left
to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, the elderly man
received a telegram that 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 Christmas holidays with anguish and sadness.
The joy of the season-a season that he and his son had so looked forward
to in the past-would visit his house no longer. On Christmas 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. He opened the door and was greeted by a soldier
with a large package in his hand.
The soldier introduced himself to the old 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-and
his father's-love of fine art work. "I'm also an artist," said the
soldier, "and I want to give you this." As the old man began to unwrap
the package, paper gave way to reveal a portrait of the man's son.
Though the world would never consider it a work of genius, the painting
featured the young man's face in striking detail.
Overcome with emotion, the old man thanked the soldier, promising to
hang the portrait 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
worth of paintings. And then the old man sat in his chair and spent
Christmas 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 his grief, as he
realized that, although his son was no longer with him, the boy's life
would live on because of those he had touched. The painting of his son
soon became his most prized possession, far eclipsing any interest in
the priceless 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, since, with the old man'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
Christmas Day, the way he had received his greatest gift.
The day finally arrived and art collectors from around the world gathered
to bid on some of the world's most spectacular paintings.
Dreams could be fulfilled this day; greatness could be achieved as some
could say," I have the greatest collection." The auction began with a
painting that was not on any museum list... It was the painting of the
old man's son. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid, but the room was
silent.
"Who will open the bidding with $100?" he asked. Moments passed as 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 get on to
the good ones." 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 $10 for the
painting? That's all I have. "Will anyone go higher?" called the
auctioneer. After more silence he said, "Going once, going twice...
Gone!" The gavel fell. Cheers filled the room and someone shouted, "Now
we can get on with it and bid on these treasures!"
The auctioneer looked at the audience and announced that the auction was
over. Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Then someone spoke up and
asked, "What do you mean it's over? We didn't come here for a portrait
of some old man's son! What about all of the other paintings? There are
millions of dollars worth of art work here. We demand an explanation!"
The auctioneer replied, "It's very simple. According to the will of the
father, whoever takes the son...gets it all."
Just as the art collectors discovered on that day...The message is still
the same...the love of the Father....a Father whose son gave his life
for others...And because of that Father's love...Whoever takes the Son
gets it all.