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The Son

Updated: Jan 23

There was once a wealthy businessman. He had three things he loved. He loved making money and instituted plans to leave a great legacy. He also loved collecting great works of art. In his private collection he held works by some of the greatest artists of all time. His collection was considered priceless. But he did not buy artwork purely as investment, he truly loved art. He was known to spend many of his spare moments drifting along his walls simply admiring these great pieces.

He loved making money, he loved art, but his greatest love was his son. His one and only son was his finest joy. The boy was kind, respectful, intelligent, brave… and dutiful.

When the son was a young man, just starting out in life, he received a letter. He had been drafted into the army. The father was worried and assured his son he could pull strings to get him out of the draft. The son considered it but refused. If he was needed, he would serve. So the son went to war. Entering as a private, he attained the rank of an officer purely on his own merit. The father was very proud of his son.

But one day he received horrible news. His son had been killed in battle. The father was devastated. In his deep despair, his aids, servants and peers feared for his life. After the funeral he denied all visitors and shut himself inside his mansion.

Then one day, he received a visitor. His servants wondered why he allowed this young man in the mansion when he had denied all others.

When the young man came into the mansion he carried a large rectangle shaped parcel with him. He was shown into the private study the father used for his office. For a moment, the young man and the old man simply looked at each other.

“Sir, thank you for agreeing to see me.”

“You said over the phone that you served with my son.”

Tears came into the young man’s eyes. “Yes sir, I did. Your son saved my life. He was my sergeant sir. Me and six others were caught behind enemy lines. We thought there was no way we could be saved. But then there was your son. He came in like a storm. He cut a path through the enemy, made a way for us to escape. That was when he was shot. We all owe him our lives." For the first time since his son had died, the father felt tears in his own eyes.

“Sir, your son talked about you often. He told us how much you love art and collect paintings. I know this is not to the quality of art you collect but I hope you will accept it. I painted it myself.”

With tears in his eyes, the father unwrapped the plain brown paper- and he saw his son's face. In his dress uniform, determined and handsome, the portrait painting showed his son for who he was. The father no longer bothered holding back the tears. For the first time since his son had died, he broke down and wept; clutching the painting of his son.

The father and the young man sat and spoke until nightfall.

That night, the father propped the painting in a chair in his office where he sat and looked at it for a long time.

Not long after this encounter the father went back to his business; and to collecting great works of art. He had the painting he entitled simply, “The Son” placed over the mantel in his front room so it was the very first thing any visitor saw upon entering his home; and he would always extol this painting first.

The Father had Van Gogh, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Klimpt and Kandinsky in his private collection along the halls of his home, but “The Son” was his most cherished piece of art.

He increased his charity work to a more personal level, now sponsoring several young artists and families of soldiers, including the young artist who had painted The Son.

He had always thought his son would carry on his legacy, but in fact the opposite was true. It was his son who had left a legacy, and he would uphold it.

And so he began to plan.

Years passed and eventually the Father died. He was prepared. Before he died, he’d establishing several trusts and scholarships in his son’s name and given away large amounts of money to various individuals, charities and small businesses. He had also made sure to appoint new directors, CEO’s and managers to several of his companies; leaving ownership of several to trusted colleagues.

But what everyone really wondered was, without an heir, what provisions had he made for his personal assets? Especially his estate, his art collection?

Not long after the Father’s death, it was announced there would be an art auction inside the mansion. The day of the auction, it was a packed house. Representatives from a who’s who of art collectors and auction houses from around the world were in attendance.

In the middle of all these fine suits and skirts, there was one old man who stood out. He wore simple dress shirt and slacks and used a cane to walk. Long ago, he had been the gardener on the estate. He didn’t seriously consider buying any of the art for sale, he was living on a fixed income and could never afford any of the Father’s priceless pieces. But when he had heard the house would be open for an art auction, he had wanted to see the old place one last time.

He remained standing as the auction began. It hurt his leg too much to sit for any length of time. When the auctioneer took his place behind the podium, the hum of conversation ended abruptly. The tension spiked in the sudden silence. Then the auction began. “The first piece we have here is entitled, “The Son”.

The old gardener was deeply moved when he saw the painting. He had known the son. He and his family had lived on the estate and he remembered the kind and patient young man who would play with his own children when they were small. He knew of the tragedy that had taken the son and knew such a beautiful portrait must’ve meant the world to the young man’s father.

The auctioneer’s voice broke into his memories. “We start the bidding at $10,000.”

He looked around. Who would win it? Who would gain The Son?

No one raised their hands. The price lowered with every round that no on raised their hands. The crowd began to murmur impatiently. Someone in front of him whispered loudly enough for him to hear, “Would someone just buy this no name piece so they could get to the ones that really matter?” Several people down the row nodded.

When the price lowered to $200, he saw someone in that row hold up their numbered plaque slightly before seeming to think better of it and laying it back in their lap.

He could afford $200. The old gardener dared to lift high the number plaque he’d been given upon entering. He would just forego going out to breakfast and bowling for a while.

The auctioneer began to sweat. No one else raised their plaques. The auctioneer looked around frantically. Is it possible, would he really be able to get “The Son”?

“Let the old man have it!” someone shouted. Others murmured in agreement. This no-name piece was not one of the priceless treasures they had their eye on.

The auctioneers began to sweat bullets as he took his time drawing out the words. “Going once, going twice...” His pale face blanched further as he tugged his collar away from his neck and gathered some papers off the podium. “Sold to the man in the back!”

He had it; he had “The Son”! Wouldn’t his kids and grandkids be shocked! He couldn’t wait to show them the painting and tell them the story behind it.

The auctioneer quickly headed towards the guards and the exit at the side of the room. Two burly guards flanked either side of the old gardener and ushered him towards the same exit the auctioneer was heading to.

People began to stand up from their seats. “What’s going on?” A woman demanded. “Where are you going?” A man shouted.

“What about the rest of the auction?” someone shouted from back.

Seemingly gathering his nerve, the auctioneer turned to the hostile crowd. “Specific instructions were left stating that only the one who placed the winning bid on “The Son” would gain the riches of the father. In placing the winning bid for The Son, this man has gained everything else, all the personal assets of the father. The auction is over.”

The old gardener felt his jaw go slack. As he came to find out minutes later, the entire estate, including stocks, bonds, the house, the land, the antique cars in the garage, and everything there contained, including the priceless paintings on the walls, all of it now belonged to him.

All this he gained because he valued The Son. He spent all he had and gained more than he could have asked for or imagined because he valued the one who had given his life for his friends.

Only the one who sees the value of the son may gain the riches of the father!


There is another beloved son, who out of duty and love stepped down not from mere riches and comfort, he gave up heaven so every person from every tribe, nation and tongue could have a chance to live free from the fear of death.

He died on a barren battlefield, executed by an enemy who had no idea who they were dealing with. God the Creator forsook heaven, put on skin and entered into the creation he had made to save fallen man. This is what Jesus; the Beloved Son did for you.

What have you given up for this son’s sake? How much do you value The Son?

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