I need you to understand - this is not my story. I heard it told on Friday and wanted to share it with you. I searched for it and found several versions. I do not know which is the original - but the message is the same, regardless of the details. Happy Easter - embrace your gift.
was a certain Professor of Religion, who taught at a small college in
the Western United States. He taught the required survey course in
Christianity. Every student was required to take this course
regardless of his or her major. He found that most of his students
looked upon the course as nothing but required drudgery. Despite his
best efforts, most students refused to take Christianity seriously.
This year, he had a student named Steve. Steve was only a freshman,
but was studying with the intent of going onto seminary for the
ministry. Steve was popular, he was well liked, and he was an
imposing physical specimen. He was now the starting defensive end on
the school football team, and was the best student in the professor's
day, the professor asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk
with him. "How many push-ups can you do?" Steve said, "I
do about 200 every night."
That's pretty good, Steve," the professor said. "Do you
think you could do 300?"
replied, "I don't know... I've never done 300 at a time."
you think you could?"
I can try," said Steve.
need you to tell me you can do it," said the professor.
said, "Well... I think I can...yeah, I can do it."
professor said, "Good! I need you to do this on Friday. Let me
explain what I have in mind."
came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room.
When class started, the professor pulled out a big box of donuts. No
these weren't the normal kinds of donuts, they were the extra fancy
BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty
excited it was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going
to get an early start on the weekend with a party in class.
professor went to the first girl in the first row and asked,
"Cynthia, do you want to have one of these donuts?"
then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do ten
push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?" "Sure."
Steve jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten. Then Steve again
sat in his desk. The professor put a donut on Cynthia's desk.
then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, "Joe, do you want
asked, "Steve would you do ten push-ups so Joe can have a
donut?" Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut. And so it went,
down the first aisle, Steve did ten pushups for every person before
they got their donut. And down the second aisle, till the professor
came to Scott.
was on the basketball team, and in as good condition as Steve. He was
very popular and never lacking for female companionship. When the
professor asked, "Scott do you want a donut?"
reply was, "Well, can I do my own pushups?"
professor said, "No, Steve has to do them."
Scott said, "Well, I don't want one then."
professor shrugged and then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve,
would you do ten pushups so Scott can have a donut he doesn't want?"
With perfect obedience Steve started to do ten pushups.
said, "HEY! I said I didn't want one!"
professor said, "Look, this is my classroom, my class, my desks,
and these are my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don't want
it." And he put a donut on Scott's desk.
by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed
on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be
getting up and down. You could start to see a little perspiration
coming out around his brow. The professor started down the third row.
Now the students were beginning to get a little angry.
asked Jenny, "Jenny, do you want a donut?"
Jenny said, "No."
he asked Steve, "Steve, would you do ten more Push-ups so Jenny
can have a donut that she doesn't want?" Steve did ten....Jenny
got a donut.
now, a growing sense of uneasiness filled the room. The students were
beginning to say "No" and there were all these uneaten
donuts on the desks.
also had to really put forth a lot of extra effort to get these
pushups done for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweat
on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to
get red because of the physical effort involved.
professor asked Robert, who was the most vocal unbeliever in the
class, to watch Steve do each push up to make sure he did the full
ten pushups in a set because he couldn't bear to watch all of Steve's
work for all of those uneaten donuts. He sent Robert over to where
Steve was so Robert could count the set and watch Steve closely.
started down the fourth row.
his class, however, some students from other classes had wandered in
and sat down on the steps along the radiators that ran down the sides
of the room. When the professor realized this, he did a quick count
and saw that now there were 34 students in the room. He started to
worry if Steve would be able to make it. The professor went on to the
next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row,
Steve was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time
to complete each set.
few moments later, Jason, a recent transfer student, came to the room
and was about to come in when all the students yelled in one voice,
"NO! Don't come in! Stay out!" Jason didn't know what was
picked up his head and said, "No, let him come."
professor said, "You realize that if Jason comes in you will
have to do ten pushups for him?"
said, "Yes, let him come in. Give him a donut"
Steve, I'll let you get Jason's out of the way right now. Jason, do
you want a donut?"
new to the room hardly knew what was going on. "Yes," he
said, "give me a donut."
will you do ten push-ups so that Jason can have a donut?" Steve
did ten pushups very slowly and with great effort. Jason, bewildered,
was handed a donut and sat down.
professor finished the fourth row, and then started on those visitors
seated by the heaters. Steve's arms were now shaking with each
push-up in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity.
Sweat was profusely dropping off of his face and, by this time, there
was no sound except his heavy breathing, there was not a dry eye in
very last two students in the room were two young women, both
cheerleaders, and very popular. The professor went to Linda, the
second to last, and asked, "Linda, do you want a doughnut?"
said, very sadly, "No, thank you."
quietly asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Linda
can have a donut she doesn't want?"
Grunting from the effort,
Steve did ten very slow pushups for Linda.
he turned to the last girl, Susan. "Susan, do you want a donut?"
with tears flowing down her face, began to cry. "Professor, why
can't I help him?"
tears of his own, he said, "No, Steve has to do it alone. Steve,
would you do ten push-ups so Susan can have a donut?" As Steve
very slowly finished his last pushup, with the understanding that he
had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350
pushups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.
professor turned to the room and said. "And so it was, that our
Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross, plead to the Father, 'into thy
hands I commend my spirit.' With the understanding that He had done
everything that was required of Him, he yielded up His life. And like
some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk,
uneaten." Two students helped Steve up off the floor and to a
seat, physically exhausted, but wearing a thin smile. "Well
done, good and faithful servant," said the professor, adding
"Not all sermons are preached in words."
to his class the professor said, "My wish is that you might
understand and fully comprehend all the riches of grace and mercy
that have been given to you through the sacrifice of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ. He spared not only His Begotten Son, but gave
Him up for us all for the whole Church, now and forever. Whether or
not we choose to accept His gift to us, the price has been paid.
Wouldn't you be foolish and ungrateful to leave it laying on the