Want A Donut?
A Professor of Religion, who taught at a small college in the Western
United States, tried hard to communicate the essence of the Gospel in his
survey course in Christianity. Every student was required to take this
course his or her freshman year regardless their major.
The professor found that most of his students looked upon the course as
nothing but drudgery. Despite his best efforts, most students refused to
take Christianity seriously. One student, Steve, was studying with the
intent of going into ministry. Steve was also the starting center on the
football team. The professor, knowing Steve was in good physical
condition, asked Steve to help him with a class project.
“How many push-ups can you do?”
Steve said, “I do about 200 every night.” “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?”
“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
Steve said, “Well… yeah, I can do it.”
“Good! I need you to do this on Friday. Let me explain what I have in
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 the professor had told them they were
invited to a party.
The professor asked the first girl in the first row, “Cynthia, do you want
to have one of these donuts?”
Cynthia said, “Yes.”
He 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. The professor put a donut on Cynthia’s desk.
He then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, “Joe, do you want a
Joe said, “Yes.” “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 push-ups for every
person before they got their donut. And down the second aisle, till the
professor came to Scott. Scott was on the basketball team, and in as good
condition as Steve.
When the professor asked, “Scott do you want a donut?”
Scott’s reply was, “Well, can I do my own push-ups?”
“No, Steve has to do them.”
Then Scott said, “Well, I don’t want one then.”
The professor shrugged and then turned to Steve and asked, “Steve, would
you do ten push-ups so Scott can have a donut he doesn’t want?”
With perfect obedience Steve started to do ten push-ups.
Scott said, “HEY! I said I didn’t want one!”
The Professor responded, “Just leave it on the desk if you don’t want
it.” He put a donut on Scott’s desk.
By this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He stayed on the floor
between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down. You
could see a little perspiration coming out around his brow.
The professor started down the third row. Some of the students were
beginning to get angry. “Jenny, do you want a donut?”
Sternly, Jenny said, “No.”
“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.
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 push-ups
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.
During his class, some students from other classes had come in and sat
down. 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. By this time, Steve was really having a rough time. He was
taking a lot more time to complete each set.
Steve asked , “Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?”
The professor thought for a moment, “Well, they’re your push-ups. You are
in charge now. You can do them any way that you want.”
Another 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!”
Steve picked up his head and said, “No, let him come.”
The professor said, “You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do
ten push-ups for him?”
Steve said, “Yes, let him come in. Give him a donut” “Okay, Steve, I’ll
let you get his 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 push-ups so that Jason can have a donut?”
Steve did ten push-ups very slowly and with great effort. Jason,
bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down.
When the fourth row was finished, the professor approached those who had
come into the room. 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 the room.
The very last two students in the room were two young women.
“Linda, do you want a doughnut?”
Linda said, very sadly, “No, thank you.”
“Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Linda can have a donut she
Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow push-ups for Linda.
“Susan, do you want a donut?”
Susan, with tears flowing down her face, began to cry. “Why can’t I help
“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 this last day of class, I
looked at my grade book. Steve, 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
Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Susan can have a donut?” As Steve very
slowly finished his last push-up, with the understanding that he had
accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 push-ups, his
arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.
The professor turned to the room and said. “And so it was, with our
Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross, he said 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.”
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 all of
mankind, now and forever.
Greater love hath no one than this: that he lay down his life for his
friends. John 15:13.