As a parent, there is nothing quite like watching your children grow and thrive. From the moment they take their first steps to the day they land their dream job, every milestone seems to be a cause for celebration. Not only do we celebrate our own children's accomplishments, birthdays and recitals, we invite others to join the celebration. We do this because we want our children to feel accepted, valued and loved.
We are not alone in this. The Father in Heaven has a Son too, and He desperately wants Him to be accepted, valued and loved. In fact, the entire controversy between light and darkness began in Heaven when Lucifer, an exalted angelic being, refused to acknowledge the supremacy of God's dear Son. And because of his rejection of Christ, "he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" (Revelation 12:9). When Lucifer was cast out, his name changed to Satan, which means "adversary" or "opponent". And as the adversary of God, he seeks to demote and devalue Christ in every way possible. It is Satan's goal to keep the human mind preoccupied. He hates it when we stop to appreciate the Son of God, for he fears that if we do, the veil will be removed and we will see Christ in all of His beauty.
Of course, Satan's effort does not deter the Father one bit. The Father still seeks to exalt His Son and His sacrifice. He has even made accepting Christ the great ultimatum of our salvation. "He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life" (1 John 5:12). Ultimately, our acceptance or rejection of the Son will determine our destiny.
Allow me to share a story that highlights this. A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael, and they would often sit together and admire the great works of art. When the Vietnam conflict erupted, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.
About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. 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 this 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 this." The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He started 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 picture. "Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It's a gift." The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home, he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.
The man died a few months later and there was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection.
On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. "We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?" There was silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, "We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one." But the auctioneer persisted. "Will somebody bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100? $200?" Another voice said angrily, "We didn't come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts. 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 longtime gardener of the man and his son. "I'll give $10 for the painting." Being a poor man, it was all he could afford. "We have $10. Who will bid $20?" "Give it to him for $10. Let's see the other paintings." "$10 is the bid. Won't someone bid $20?" The crowd was becoming angry. They didn't want the picture of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections. The auctioneer pounded the gavel. "Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!"
A man sitting on the second row shouted, "Now let's get on with the collection!" The auctioneer laid down his gavel. "I'm sorry, the auction is over." "What about the other paintings?" "I am sorry. 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 would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings. The man who took the son gets everything!"
Friends, this principle is still true today. He that takes the Son, gets everything. Jesus Christ is not a part of the gift. He is the Gift. And those who accept Him will inherit all things.
Praying for you,