Portrait Of A Son

Steve Arterburn

There once lived a wealthy widower who shared a passion for collecting art with his beloved son. Priceless works adorned the family estate.

Then war interrupted. The son enlisted, and after only a few weeks, the father’s worst fears were realized: his son was killed in action.

Months later the bereaved old man was awakened by a visitor. “I was a friend of your son,’ said the stranger at the door, ‘He was rescuing me when he died. I have something to show you.”

The package contained a portrait of the man’s son! It wasn’t a masterpiece, but precious nonetheless. The old man was overcome with emotion and gratitude.

When the old man died, his paintings were slated for auction. The event began with a painting that wasn’t on the docket, the painting of the man’s son.

Bidding opened at $100. Silence. ‘Who cares about that painting?’ someone cried, ‘Let’s get to the good stuff.” Voices clamored in agreement.

Finally, an elderly gentleman asked, “Will you take $10? That’s all I have but I know the lad and would love to have the portrait.” After more silence, the auctioneer said, “Going once, going twice. Gone.”

Then to everyone’s surprise, the auctioneer closed the auction! Stunned disbelief filled the room. “What do you mean?’ voices demanded, ‘There’s still millions of dollars of art here!”

The auctioneer replied, “Simple. According to the will of the father, whoever takes his son gets it all.’

Men, behold the glory of the gospel: whosoever takes the Son in faith receives all the Father’s benefits!

Male Visual Stimulation

Steve Arterburn

Men tend to be highly visual. Consequently, they also tend to be very susceptible to sexual temptation when it’s presented visually. Put bluntly: most men have eyes that follow every short skirt that walks by. This presents a huge obstacle to marital intimacy. One disgruntled wife put it simply: ‘Men are pigs.’ And to the extent we choose our own way rather than purifying our eyes and submitting out behaviors to God, it’s an apt indictment.

Consider this letter I received from a reader of my book, Every Man’s Battle:

‘My husband has bought into the lie that ‘all men look’ because they’re so visual. He read your book Every Man’s Battle, but he still says it’s impossible for any real man to avoid looking at a babe in a string bikini. This bothers me, but he’s threatened me with divorce if I don’t stop ‘nagging’ him about this, I’m sick to my stomach to think that for the rest of my life, I’ll be robbed of fullness in my marriage. Because this bothers me so much, and because my husband is so sick of being reminded of it, he does it even more now! Can you imagine? Everywhere I go with my husband I know I can’t keep his attention. NOWHERE!’

Note her pain, men. The lust of your eyes hardens your heart and blinds you to your own wife. This dishonors both your wife and the God who so graciously gave her to you. Consider attending the Every Man’s Battle workshop. Read testimonies from other men who have attended.

Leaving A Positive Legacy

Steve Arterburn

Did you know the Nobel Peace Prize is named after Alfred Nobel, the Swedish industrialist who invented dynamite? How did this come to be? It’s an interesting story. When Alfred’s brother Ludvig died, a newspaper mistook Ludvig for Alfred. As a result, the newspaper printed Alfred’s obituary, with a headline that read, ‘The Merchant of Death Is Dead.’ The obituary then proceeded to describe Alfred as a man who made his fortune helping people kill one another.

Alfred Nobel was cut to the heart. His legacy, as the obituary described it, was simply tragic. So he set himself to the task of changing it while he was still able. When Alfred really died eight years later, he left $9 million to fund awards for people whose work benefited humanity’thus, the birth of what we know as Nobel Peace Prizes.

Alfred Nobel was given a rare gift: the opportunity to read his own obituary, and make changes before it was too late. Men, perhaps it would be fruitful to spend a while imagining yourselves in his shoes. If your life ended today, how might those around you assess your contribution to your fellow man? Don’t concern yourself with the quantity of those contributions, for bigger is certainly not always better. Concentrate instead on their quality.

Unlike Alfred Nobel, none of us will probably ever read our own obituaries. However, all of us have the opportunity to live examined lives, and to make changes where changes need making.