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The story is told about a wealthy man and his only son - both of whom loved to collect rare works of art! They had everything - from the late great Andalusian-Spanish painter, draughtsman, and sculptor, Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973) to the late great Italian painter and architect, Raphael Sanzio (1483 - 1520) in their collection! The father and son would often sit together and admire their collection of the great works of art!

When the Vietnam Conflict broke out, the son went into battle. He was extremely courageous and - while rescuing another solder - died in the line of duty! The father was notified by the Casualty Assistance Case Officer (CACO) of his son's death! The father grieved deeply for the loss of his only son.

Apporximately one month later - just before Christmas - there was a knock on the door to the father's house! 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, he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart; and, he died instantly. He often talked about you and your love for art." The young man held out his package. "I know this isn't much. I'm not really a great artist; but, I think your son would have wanted you to have it!"

The father opened the package to discover a portrait of his son, painted by the young man! He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. 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 painting. "Oh, no sir! I could never repay what your son did for me. It's a gift."

The father hung the painting over the mantle of the fireplace in his home! Every time visitors came to his house, he took them - before he showed them any of the other great works of art that he collected - to see the portrait of his son!

A few months later, the man died. His many great works of art were scheduled to be sold at auction. Many people gathered on the day of the auction - excited about being able to see and purchase the great paintings and works of art!

The auction platform contained the painting of the son! The auctioneer pounded his gavel and said, "We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this painting?" There was silence. Then, a voice in the back of the room shouted, "We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one!"

The auctioneer persisted, "Will somebody bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? Do I hear $100, $200?" Another voice shouted angrily, "We didn't come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Gogh's and Rembrandt's - get on with the real bids! But, still the auctioneer continued, "The son! The son! Who'll take the son?"

Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the voice of the longtime gardener of the deceased man and his son! "I'll give $10 for the painting." Being a poor man, it was all that he could afford. The auctioneer said, "We have $10, who will bid $20?" The crowd, becoming angry shouted, "We don't want the painting of the son, give it to him for $10!" The auctioneer pounded his gavel and said, "Going once, going twice, sold to the gardener for $10!"

A gentleman sitting on the second row shouted, "Now let's get on with the great works of art collection!" The auctioneer replied, "I'm sorry, ladies and gentlemen, the auction is over!" Many people shouted, "What about the rare paintings?" The auctioneer replied, "When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son was to be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate - including the rare great works of art! The person who took the son gets everything!"

Almighty God, 2,000-plus years ago, gave His only begotten Son, to die on the Cross at Calvary! Much like the auctioneer, His message today is: "The Son, the Son, who'Ll take the Son?" You see, my brothers and sisters, whoever is captivated by the Son; and, takes Him as his or her personal Lord and Saviour, gets everything!

From George Dillahunty's Sermon "The Way- Captivated By Christ"

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