I Love To Tell the Story
“…….I love to tell the story; tis pleasant to repeat what seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet. I love to tell the story, for some have never heard, the message of salvation from God’s own Holy Word……….”
With Laity Sunday coming up on Oct 17th, the invitation has been made for folks to share their faith stories with the congregation. While I will be away, I hope many of you will be willing to share your stories. As I thought about sharing our faith stories and God’s great story, I was reminded of this devotion: There was a boy by the name of Steve who was attending University. Brother Christianson was one of the teachers. He had an open-door policy and would take in any student that had been thrown out of another class as long as they would abide by his rules. Steve had been kicked out of his sixth period class and no other teacher wanted him, so he went into Brother Christianson’s class. Steve was told he could not be late, so he arrived just seconds before the bell rang and he would sit in the very back. He would also be the first to leave as soon as class was over.
One day, Brother Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him. Brother Christianson pulled Steve aside and said, “You think you’re pretty tough, don’t you?” Steve’s answer was, “Yeah, I do!” Then Brother Christianson asked, “How many pushups can you do?” Steve said, “I do about 200 every night.” “200? That’s pretty good, Steve,” Brother Christianson said. “Do you think you could do 300?” Steve replied, “I don’t know… I’ve never done 300 at a time before.” “Do you think you could?” asked Brother Christianson. “Well, I can try,” said Steve. “Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I need you to do 300 in sets of 10 for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it,” Brother Christianson said. Steve said, “Well, I think I can. Yeah, I can do it.” Brother Christianson said, “Good! I need you to do this on Friday.”
Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room. When class started, Brother Christianson pulled out a big box of donuts. Now these weren’t the normal kinds of donuts, they were Krispy Kremes, with cream centers and frosting, and sprinkles, still fresh and warm. Everyone was pretty excited because it was Friday, and the last class of the day, and they were going to get an early to start on the weekend.
Brother Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, “Cynthia, do you want a donut?” He then turned to Steve and asked, “Steve, would you do ten pushups 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. Brother Christianson put a donut on Cynthia’s desk. He then went to Joe, the next person and asked, “Joe do you want a donut?” Joe said, “Yes.” Brother Christianson asked, “Steve would you do ten pushups so Joe can have a donut?” Steve did ten pushups, and 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 Brother Christianson came to Scott. Scott was captain of the football team. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship. When Brother Christianson asked, “Scott do you want a donut?” Scott’s reply was, “Well can I do my own pushups?” Brother Christianson said, “No Steve has to do them.” Then Scott said, “Well, I don’t want one then.” Brother Christianson turned to Steve and asked, “Steve, would you do ten pushups so Scott can have a donut he does not want,” Steve started to do ten pushups. Scott said, “Hey, I said I didn’t want one!” Brother Christianson said, “Look this is my classroom, my class, my desks, and 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. Brother Christianson started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry.
Brother Christianson asked Jenny, “Jenny, do you want a donut?” Jenny said, “No.” The Brother Christianson asked Steve, “Steve, would you do ten pushups so Jenny can have a donut she doesn’t want?” Steve did ten and Jenny got a donut. By now, the students were beginning to say “No,” and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks. Steve was really struggling to put forth a lot of 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. Brother Christianson asked Robert to watch Steve to make sure he did ten pushups in a set because he couldn’t bear to watch all of Steve’s work for all of those uneaten donuts. So, Robert began to watch Steve closely. Brother Christianson started down the fourth row.
During the class, some students had wandered in and sat along the heaters on the sides of the room. When Brother Christianson realized this, he did a quick count and saw 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it. He went on 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 Brother Christianson, “Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?” Brother Christianson thought for a moment, “Well they’re your pushups. You can do them any way that you want,” and then continued handing out donuts. A few moments later, Jason came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled, “NO!” Jason didn’t know what was going on. Steve picked up his head and said, “No, let him come.” Brother 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.” Bother Christianson said, “okay, I’ll let you get Jason’s out of the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?” “Yes” “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. Brother Christianson finished the fourth row, then started on those seated on the heaters. Steve’s arms were now shaking with each pushup in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. Sweat was dropping off of his face and, by this time there was not a dry eye in the room.
The very last two girls in the room were cheerleaders and very popular. Brother Christianson went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, “Linda, do you want a donut?” Linda said, very sadly, “No, thank you.” Brother Christianson asked Steve, “Steve, would you do ten pushups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn’t want?” Grunting from effort, Steve did ten very slow pushups for Linda. Then Brother Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan. “Susan, do you want a donut?” Susan, with tears flowing down her face, asked, “Brother Christianson, can I help him?” With tears in his own eyes, Brother Christianson said, “No, he has to do it alone. Steve, would you do ten pushups so Susan can have a donut?”
As Steve 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. Brother Christianson turned to the room and said, “And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, 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 collapsed on the cross and died. And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten.”
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! Don’t leave his gift unopened. Let others know about the gift he offers to them. Share your faith story – share it often. May we be Christians who truly “Love to Tell the Story,” and shine the light of Christ to those around us.
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