Whoever Gets the Son, Gets Everything Else


John 3:16-21

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

Whoever Gets the Son, Gets Everything Else

I was sent home on emergency from Iraq in November of 2004 to see my mother, who had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. While I was home, it was my privilege to preach in all three services at Alton Main Street UMC and for my Mom to hear and see her son again. 
I used this text and told a story about a rich man with a fabulous art collection, who lost his only son in the Vietnam War.  Another soldier whose life had been saved by the son painted a rough portrait of the rich man’s son and journeyed to see the father to give him the print. The father would die years later and there would be an art auction for all of these priceless art treasures. As all of these collectors gathered in the great room, here was the picture of the son on an easel. The auctioneer could not get anyone to bid on the painting. In fact, many became agitated, demanding to get on with the real treasures. 
Finally, the caretaker bid a paltry bid for the portrait of the son. Going once, twice, and sold. With that the auctioneer laid down the gavel and announced that the auction was over. There was a clause in the will that stipulated that the portrait of the son, which was the most valued portrait, would be auctioned first, and that whoever got the son, would get everything else.
I learned this verse of scripture in my Kindergarten Sunday School class at Main Street, when Mrs. Carlene Matthews taught it to me. It was constantly encouraged and reinforced by my mother’s well-lived life. It is true that when we get the Son, we get everything!   I thank God for those who helped me to “get it”.


 Holy God, in this season of penitence, may this Lenten journey lead us to the unspeakable joy of Easter, and to the Crucified and Risen One. May we never grow impatient waiting for the “treasures” of life, but yearn instead for the Son. May we always and forever “get it”. For we ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Chaplain (Colonel) John D. Read serves as Command Chaplain, Office of the Surgeon General/United States Army Medical Command.