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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Run to the Sun

Photo Credit:  xpistwv from
Last week, I saw someone I hadn’t seen in such a long time.  It was so good to see him!  I wondered where he’d been hiding out all this time.  The days seemed so cold and dark without him.  I honestly wasn’t sure how long we could go on without seeing him.  Yep.  It was way past due for a visit.  Everyone was craving the warmth that he brought when he was near.  Yep.  You guessed it…Mr. Sun.  He finally peeked through the clouds last Thursday and we were so grateful!

I immediately ran outside when I saw him.  I couldn’t believe it.  I stopped everything and went for a walk just to be close to him.  I needed to feel the warmth on my skin.  I wanted to feel his presence.

I remember a similar feeling over Christmas break when we were in the snowy mountains of New Mexico.  It was absolutely gorgeous, but F.R.E.E.Z.I.N.G.  We had hand warmers tucked inside our gloves and wool socks, layers upon layers of clothing, hats, and fluffy Eskimo jackets, but our bones were still quite chilly.  However, when Mr. Sun came out during one of the days, I knew we’d make it.  Mr. Sun made it bearable.  The warm and gentle sun rays against our frozen faces made the bitter cold doable.  Despite the fact that our very breath turned into little ice cubes as soon as it left our lips; we were able to smile because of Mr. Sun.

My Uncle Erol sent a terrific piece the other day.  I’ve read this parable before and you may have too, but it is well worth another read.  Awesome.

A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art.  When the Vietnam conflict broke out, 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 a 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.  The father 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 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 father 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 masters.”

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 paintings?” they demanded.  “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!”

I just LOVE this story, don’t you?  It illustrates the riches we all can earn when we accept the son of God into our hearts.  As we make a home for Jesus in our hearts and in our lives, we gain everything…the Kingdom of Heaven.

When I was researching this tale, Snopes said that the original story was found in a book published in 1954.  In that long-ago version, the legend began with the death of a rich man and the auction of his household goods.  The only person to bid on a photograph of the dead man's son was an elderly woman dressed in shabby clothes.  She was later revealed to have been the child's nurse.  The child died at an early age and this nurse had loved the boy dearly.  The nurse wanted his photograph as a keepsake.  

In the original telling of the parable, the poor woman examined the photograph at home and noticed a bulge in the heavy paper on the back of its frame.  She made a small cut into the paper backing and pulled from the opening an envelope.  Inside the envelope was the wealthy man's missing will.  The will clearly stated that the rich man’s estate was to go to the one who still held dear the memory of his beloved son.

Do we hold dear God’s beloved Son?  Do we remember to put Him first, above all else?

Just as I couldn’t wait to run to the sun last week…let’s also run to the Son.  In doing so, we will enjoy the warmth of His embrace.  Let’s stop everything and run to Him.  We will feel His presence.  Let’s be close to Him.  He will make the cold, dark, and bitter days of this life bearable.  His love, mercy, and grace will make it all doable.  Just like the gardener and the nurse, we gain everything when we take the Son.  We get it all when we run…to the Son.

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

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