The Father and the Son

The following article was published in the Shenandoah Valley Herald on January 18, 2013.

Sometimes there is nothing better than a story to make a point. Preachers will frequently maim and kill for a good story that serves to illustrate a point. We can be hunters on the prowl. So, I am going to get out of the way this issue and share the following story, the source of which has long been lost.

Once upon a time there was a father and son who loved each other. They shared many things in common. Among them was a love of art, especially paintings. The family was wealthy and able to provide for the family needs very well. The father purchased many great works of art and had them around the house. Then the war came and the son went off to war.

While on the field of battle, the son made friends with a fellow soldier whose home was not too far away. They were best buddies, protecting each other, looking out for each other, mourning openly the loss of comrades, doing their duty side by side. It was a terrible time, the stench of death, days of hard battle, the vulgarities of war made plain.

Alas, the son died in a battle and the friend grieved deeply.

Finally, the war was over and the friend returned home to his family and community.
After some time he decided to go visit the father of his friend and upon his arrival learned that he had died. In fact, there was to be a major estate auction that very day.

He decided he would go and simply look over the items, many of them very valuable, expensive, and some great works of art. He knew he could not afford the cost of any of them.

It was time for the bidding. To everyone's surprise, the auctioneer placed first up for bid a painted worthless portrait of the son. The crowd was unhappy – no one was bidding on the portrait – they wanted to get to the pieces of art for which they were waiting. But the friend desired to have this remembrance of the son.

He stepped forward and made a strong offer for the portrait. The bid was quickly received to the relief of the crowd. But then something unexpected happened.
At that point the auctioneer closed the sale. He went on to report that that whoever bought the portrait of his son, was to receive the proceeds of the estate. Those were the terms.

"He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else?"

— Romans 8:32 (NRSV)

— Pastor Dave
January 18, 2013