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 the family estate. The widowed, elder 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.
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. 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 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. As he opened the door, he was greeted
by a soldier with a large package in his hand. He introduced
himself to the 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
As the two began to talk, the soldier told of how the
man's son had told everyone of his, not to mention his
father's, love of fine art. "I'm an artist,"
said the soldier, "and I want to give this to you."
As the old man unwrapped the package, the paper gave
way to reveal a portrait of the man's 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, the
old man set about his task. True to his word, the painting
went above the fireplace, pushing aside thousands of
dollars of paintings. And then the 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 realized
that even though his son was no longer with him, the
boy's life would live on because of those he had touched.
He would soon learn 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 pieces for which museums around the world clamored.
He told his neighbors it was the greatest gift he had
The following spring, the old man became ill and passed
away. The art world was in anticipation! Unmindful of
the story of the man's only son, but in his honor, 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 day he had received
his greatest gift.
The 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 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 came, "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. "Now, who will take the
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 any higher?" called
the auctioneer. After more silence, the auctioneer said,
"Going once, going twice, gone." The gavel
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?
There are millions of dollars of art here! 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."
Puts things into perspective, doesn't it? Just as those
art collectors discovered on that Christmas Day, the
message is still the same: the love of a Father, a Father
whose greatest joy came from his son, who went away
and gave his life rescuing others.
And because of that Father's love . . .
Whoever takes the Son gets it ALL.
- Author Unknown