sent by Amber Burton
There was a certain Professor of Religion named Dr. Christianson,
man who taught at a small college in the western United States. Dr.
Christianson taught the required survey course in Christianity at this
particular institution. Every student was required to take this course his
or her freshman year regardless of major. Although Dr. Christianson tried
hard to communicate the essence of the gospel in his class, 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
This year, Dr. Christianson had a special student named Steve. Steve was
only a freshman, but was studying with the intent of going on to seminary
for the ministry. Steve was popular, well liked, an imposing physical
specimen. He was the starting center on the school football team, and was
the best student in the professor's class. One day, Dr. Christianson 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."
"200? That's pretty good, Steve," Dr. Christianson said. "Do you think you
could do 300?"
Steve replied, "I don't know .. . . I've never done 300 at a time."
"Do you think you could?" again asked Dr. Christianson.
"Well, I can try," said Steve.
"Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I have a class project in mind and I need you
to do about 300 push ups in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do it? I
need you to tell me you can do it," said the professor.
Steve said, "Well . . .. I think I can . . . yeah, I can do it."
Dr. Christianson said, "Good! I need you to do this on Friday. Let me
explain what I have in mind."
Friday 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. Now 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 Dr. Christianson's class.
Dr. Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked,
"Cynthia, do you want to have one of these donuts?"
Cynthia said, "Yes."
Dr. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do ten
push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?"
Steve said, "Sure," and jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten. Then
Steve again sat in his desk. Dr. Christianson put a donut on Cynthia's desk.
Dr. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, "Joe, do you
want a donut?"
Joe said, "Yes."
Dr. Christianson 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 a
And down the second aisle, till Dr. Christianson came to Scott. Scott was on
the basketball team, and in as good condition as Steve. He was very popular
and never lacking for female companionship.
The professor asked, "Scott do you want a donut?"
Scott's reply was, "Well, can I do my own pushups?"
Dr. Christianson said, "No, Steve has to do them."
Then Scott said, "Well, I don't want one then."
Dr. Christianson 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.
Scott said, "HEY! I said I didn't want one!"
Dr. Christianson 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.
Now 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. Dr. Christianson started down the third row. Now the students were
beginning to get a little angry.
Dr. Christianson asked, "Jenny, do you want a donut?"
Sternly, Jenny said, "No."
Then Dr. Christianson asked Steve, "Steve, would you do ten more pushups so
Jenny can have a donut that she doesn't want?" Steve did ten, Jenny got a
By now, a growing sense of uneasiness filled the room. The students were
beginning to say "No" and there were all the uneaten donuts on the desks.
Steve 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.
Dr. Christianson 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. Dr. Christianson started down the fourth row.
During 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 wonder if Steve
would be able to make it. Dr. Christianson 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.
Steve asked Dr. Christianson, "Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?"
Dr. Christianson thought for a moment, "Well, they're your pushups. You are
in charge now. You can do them any way that you want." And Dr. Christianson
A 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 going on.
Steve picked up his head and said, "No, let him come."
Professor Christianson said, "You realize that if Jason comes in you will
have to do ten pushups for him?"
Steve said, "Yes, let him come in. Give him a donut"
Dr. Christianson said, "Okay, Steve, I'll let you get Jason's out of the way
right now. Jason, do you want a donut?"
Jason, new to the room hardly knew what was going on.
"Yes," he said. "Give me a donut."
"Steve, will you do ten pushups 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.
Dr. Christianson finished the fourth row, then started on those visitors
seated by the heaters. Steve's arms were now shaking with each pushup 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 the room.
The very last two students in the room were two young women, both
cheerleaders, and very popular. Dr. Christianson went to Linda, the second
to last, and asked, "Linda, do you want a doughnut?"
Linda said, very sadly, "No, thank you."
Professor Christianson quietly asked, "Steve, would you do ten pushups so
that Linda can have a donut she doesn't want?"
Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow pushups for Linda. Then
Dr. Christianson turned to the last girl. "Susan, do you want a donut?"
Susan, with tears flowing down her face, began to cry. "Dr. Christianson,
why can't I help him?"
Dr. Christianson, with tears of his own, said, "No, Steve has to do it
alone. I have given him this task and he is in charge of seeing that
everyone has an opportunity for a donut whether he or she wants it or not.
"When I decided to have a party this last day of class, I looked at my grade
book. Steve, here, is the only student with a perfect grade. Everyone else
has failed a test, skipped class, or offered me inferior work.
Steve told me that in football practice, when a player messes up he must do
push ups. I told Steve that none of you could come to my party unless he
paid the price by doing your push ups. He and I made a deal for your sakes.
Steve, would you do ten pushups 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.
Dr. Christianson turned to the room and said. "And so it was, that our
Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross, prayed 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. "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."
Turning 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,
Who spared not the only Begotten Son, but gave Him up for us all for the
whole Church, now and forever.
"'Greater love hath no one than this, that he lay down his life for his
friends.' John 15:13"
back to the Special Messages page