Christianson was Professor of Religion at a small college in the United =
States. He taught a required survey course in Christianity and 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 on the course as nothing but required drudgery. Despite =
his best efforts, most students refused to take Christianity seriously. =
s term in the fall of 1966, Dr. Christianson had a special student named =
Steve. Steve was only a freshman but intended to go on to seminary and =
the ministry. Steve was popular, he was well liked, and he was an =
imposing physical specimen. He was already a starting player on the =
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. He asked, "How many pushups can you do?" =
ve said, "I do about 200 every night."
ot;200? That’s pretty good, Steve," Dr. Christianson said. "Do =
you think you could do 300?"
ve replied, "I don’t know. I’ve never done 300 at a time." =
ot;Do you think you could?" again asked Dr. Christianson. =
ot;Well, I can try," said Steve.
ot;Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I have a class project in mind, and I =
need you to do about 300 pushups in sets of ten for this to work. But =
all in one hour. Can you do it?"
ve thought he could, so Dr. Christianson said, "Good! I need you to =
do this on Friday. Let me explain what I have in mind." =
day 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. 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. =
Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, =
"Cynthia, do you want to have one of these donuts?" =
thia said, "Yes."
Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do =
ten pushups so that Cynthia can have a donut?"
ot;Sure." Steve 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 =
Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, "Joe, =
do you want a donut?"
Christianson asked, "Steve would you do ten pushups so Joe can =
have a donut?" Steve did ten pushups, and Joe got a donut. =
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 Dr. =
Christianson came to Scott. Scott was on the basketball team and in as =
good physical conditioning as Steve.
So when the professor asked =
if he wanted a donut, Scott replied, "Well, can I do my own =
Christianson said, "No, Steve has to do them."
tt said, "Well, I don’t want one then."
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. =
tt said, "HEY! I said I didn’t want one!"
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.
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 upset. Dr. Christianson asked Jenny, =
"Jenny, do you want a donut?"
rnly, 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, and 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. 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 neck were beginning =
to get red because of the physical effort involved.
Christianson started down the fourth row. During his class, however, =
some students from other classes had wandered in and sat down along the =
radiators that ran 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. =
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.
few moments later, Jason, a recent transfer student, saw the open door =
and donuts on desks and decided to see what was happening, About to =
enter, all the students yelled in one voice, "NO! Don’t come in! =
Stay out!" Of course, Jason didn’t know what was going on. =
ve picked up his head and said, "No, let him come." =
fessor Christianson said, "You realize that if Jason comes in you =
will have to do ten pushups for him?"
ve said, "Yes, let him come in. Give him a donut." =
Christianson said, "Okay, Steve, I’ll let you get Jason’s out of =
the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?"
hout knowing what was going on, he replied, “Sure thing!." =
ot;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.
Christianson finished the fourth row then started on the other 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 and =
asked, "Linda, do you want a doughnut?"
da said, very sadly, "No, thank you."
fessor 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.
n Dr. Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan. "Susan, do you =
want a donut?"
an, with tears flowing down her face, began to cry. "Dr. =
Christianson, why can’t I help him?"
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 they want it or not. =
When I decided to have a party at the end of this week, I looked at my =
grade book. Steve is the only student with a perfect grade. Everyone =
else had missed questions on a test, skipped class, or offered me =
inferior work. Steve told me that when a player messes up in football =
practice, he must do pushups. I told Steve that none of you could come =
to my party unless he paid the price by doing your pushups. He and I =
made a deal for your sakes.
ve, 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.
Christianson turned to the room and said. "And so it was, that our =
Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross, pled 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." =
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."
ning to his class the professor said, "My wish is that you might =
understand and fully comprehend the cost of salvation Jesus offered you =
through His sacrifice. 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 desk?"
[thanks to =
Paul for sharing this old story]
Dr Bob Griffin =
Knows Me, This I Love!"