I remember him telling this story, just as clearly as if it happened yesterday. I was utterly captivated. I never forgot the story. Years later, I contacted him and asked him for a copy of the story. He sent it to me, and I am posting it here today. I hope you enjoy it. More to the point, I hope you can use it for the purpose it is intended: to illustrate the glorious message of the good news of Jesus Christ.
There was once a man who worked for months together with his little boy to build a toy sailboat. Every night after he came home from work, the father and son would disappear into the garage for hours. It was labor of love - love for each other and for the thing they were creating.
The wooden hull was painted bright red, and it was trimmed with gleaming white sails.
When it was finished, they traveled to a nearby lake for the little boat's trial run. Before launching it, the father tied a string to its stern to keep it from sailing out too far.
The boat performed beautifully; but before long a motorboat, crossing the lake, cut the string; and the sailboat drifted out of sight on the large lake. All attempts to find it were fruitless, and both father and son wept over its loss.
A few weeks later, as the boy was walking home from school, he passed his favorite toy store, and was amazed to see a toy sailboat in the window - his sailboat! He ran inside to claim the boat, telling the proprietor about his experience on the lake.
The storeowner explained that he had found the boat while on a fishing trip. “You may be its maker”, he said, “but as a finder I am its legal owner. You may have it back - for fifty dollars.” The boy was stunned at how much it would cost him to regain his boat; but since it was so precious to him, he quickly set about earning the money to buy it back.
Months later, the day finally came when he joyfully walked into the toy store and handed the owner fifty dollars in exchange for his sailboat. It was the happiest day of his life!
As he left the store, he held the boat up to the sunlight. Its colors gleamed as though newly painted. “I made you; but I lost you," he said. "Now, I've bought you back. That makes you twice mine; and twice mine is mine forever!"