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Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
2004-01-09 communities
The "All" of Christ
The Pastor's Pen
by Pastor Jack Ward

Tomahawk Missionary Baptist Church

Years ago, there was a very wealthy man who, with his devoted son, shared a passion for art collecting. Together, they traveled around the world adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet and many others adorned the walls of the family estate. The widowed father looked on with satisfaction as his only child became an experienced art collector. But the day came when war engulfed the nation, and the young man left to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, his father received a telegram that his beloved son had been killed while carrying a fellow soldier to a medic.

On Christmas morning, a knock came at the door of the old man's home, and as he opened the door, he was greet by a soldier with a large package in his hand. He introduced himself to the man by say, "I was a friend of your son, I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments, I have something to show you." "I'm an artist," said the soldier, "and I want to give you this." As the old man unwrapped the package, the paper gave way to reveal a portrait of his son. Though art critics would never consider the work a piece of genius, the painting did feature the young man's face in striking detail, and seemed to capture his personality.

The following spring, the old man became ill and passed away. The art world was in anticipation. According to the will of the old man, all of the art works would be auctioned. Art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world's most spectacular paintings. The auction began with a painting of the man's son. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid. The room was silent. "Who will open the bidding for $100?" he asked. Minutes passed without a sound from those who came to buy. From the back of the room someone callously called out, "Who cares about that painting? It's just a picture of his son. Let's forget it and go on to the important paintings." There were other voices which echoed in agreement. But the auctioneer replied, "No, we have to sell this one first. Now, who will take the son?" Finally, a friend of the old man spoke, "I knew the boy, so I'd like to have it. I will bid $100." "I have a bid for $100," called the auctioneer, "Will anyone go higher?" After a long silence, the auctioneer said, "Going one, going twice, gone." The gavel fell. Cheers filled the room and someone was heard to say, "Now, we can get on with it." But the auctioneer looked at the audience and announced the auction was over. Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Someone spoke up and asked, "What do you mean it's over? We didn't come here for a picture of some old guy's son. What about all of these paintings? There are millions of dollar worth of art here. We demand that you explain what's going on." The auctioneer replied, "It's very simple. According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son...gets it all."

Whoever takes the Son gets it all. The Bible puts it like this: "God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life" 1 John 5: 11-12. The one who has the Son has it all. But exactly what is included in the "all?" There are several things. The first "all" is new life in Christ. Secondly, "all" means our sins can be forgiven. Thirdly, "all" means we have the hope of heaven.

Christmas means that Christ has given "all" to those who have accepted Jesus Christ gift of heaven. At this point, it is still wrapped. But the package has our name on it. We know what awaits us. It is ours. We would never have received the gift if it were not for Christmas. But, we wait longingly for the day when we will enjoy the gift of heaven in all of its unwrapped wonder. As the Bible says, "But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness" 2 Peter 3:13.

What better gift could we ask for than Jesus?

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