Pushups for Donuts
There was a boy by the name of Steve who was attending Seminary in
In this Seminary classes are held during school hours. Brother
Christianson taught Seminary at this particular school. 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 and no other
teacher wanted him, so he went into Brother Christianson’s
Steve was told that he could not be late, so he arrived just
seconds before the bell rang and he would sit in the very back of
the room. He would also be the first to leave after the class was
One day, Brother Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so
he could talk with him. After class, Bro. 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 push-ups 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.”
“Do you think you could?” Again 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 ten
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 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 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.
Bro. Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and
asked, “Cynthia, do you want a donut?”
Cynthia said, “Yes.”
Bro. 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. Bro. Christianson put a
donut on Cynthia’s desk.
Bro. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked,
“Joe do you want a donut?”
Joe said, “Yes.” Bro. Christianson asked, “Steve would you do ten
push-ups so Joe can have a donut?” Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got
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 Bro. Christianson came to Scott.
Scott was captain of the football team and center of the
basketball team. He was very popular and never lacking for female
companionship. When Bro. Christianson asked, “Scott do you want a
donut?” Scott’s reply was, “Well, can I do my own pushups?”
Bro. Christianson said, “No, Steve has to do them.”
Then Scott said, “Well, I don’t want one then.”
Bro. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, “Steve, would
you do ten pushups so Scott can have a donut he doesn’t want?”
Steve started to do ten pushups. Scott said, “HEY! I said I didn’t
Bro. 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.
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. Bro. Christianson started
down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a
Bro. Christianson asked Jenny, “Jenny, do you want a donut?”
Jenny said, “No.”
Then Bro. Christianson asked Steve, “Steve, would you do ten
pushups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn’t want?” Steve
did ten, 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 also having to really
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.
Bro. 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. Bro. Christianson started down the fourth
During his class, however, some students had wandered in and sat
along the heaters along the sides of the room. When Bro.
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.
Bro. 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 Bro. Christianson, “Do I have to make my nose touch on
Bro. Christianson thought for a moment, “Well, they’re your
pushups. You can do them any way that you want.” And Bro.
Christianson went on.
A few moments later, Jason came to the room and was about to come
in when all the students yelled, “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.”
Bro. 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.”
Bro. Christianson said, “Okay, I’ll let you get Jason’s out of the
way right now. Jason, do you want 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.
Bro. 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. Bro. Christianson went to
Linda, the second to last, and asked, “Linda, do you want a
Linda said, very sadly, “No, thank you.”
Bro. Christianson asked Steve, “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 Bro. Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan.
“Susan, do you want a donut?”
Susan, with tears flowing down her face, asked, “Bro. Christianson
, can I help him?”
Bro. Christianson, with tears of his own, said, “No, he has to do
it alone, Steve, would you do ten pushups so Susan can have a
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.
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.”
Nothing has happened to you that is not common to man.
Seems like a statement made by an uncaring and unresponsive
person, does it not?
But we find this statement made through the inspiration of the
Holy Spirit as he tries to get us to hear and understand another
piece of this life’s puzzle.
How often we struggle with circumstances and situations everyday
that hold us back from growing in the Lord. How often we strive to
find a way out of circumstances rather than find out what is meant
by them. The authors of the bible seem to have a message from God
about prosperity, abundance, good health, etc., and yet for most
of us seeking the truth we find that something is missing in the
mix, do we not?
I have been on a journey myself for the past 27 years in this
experience called Christianity and I found myself divorced after
20 years of marriage, up and down in my faith, discouraged many
times, and lacking in understanding for much of what has happened
in my life. But I cling to HOPE and find myself still walking
forward because God has made a promise, a covenant, and he always
fulfills his promises.
I have found myself wanting, feeling alone, feeling abandoned and
unfulfilled and yet the Bible clearly indicates there is an
abundant lifestyle that causes joy within sorrow, happiness within
the sadness, and victory in place of defeat. So how can we justify
our lives within the context of God’s eternal Word, which we still
believe to be the truth?
First thing that I have come to understand about God is that I
don’t have the capacity within this finite mind to comprehend the
depth, the width, nor the height of what God is all about. My mind
is void of understanding because God’s ways are higher than mine.
I cannot, within my limited understanding, understand! And on top
of all else, I have an enemy who is seeking to devour me, and who,
according to God’s word, is living in a high place of spiritual
Now I have to make a choice: to trust him who made me, or to try
to figure out what to do with the rest of my life on my own. How
many of us here right now have found the latter to be the answer
to all life’s problems? How many have become believers because we
found that this life had nothing to offer us but pain with no real
long-term relief? And then God seemed to have the answer, so we
gave ourselves to him. What happened?
Well one thing is for sure, and that is that God cannot lie. He is
the same yesterday, today, and even tomorrow. We have to draw
closer, closer, yes even closer, to his word and to him who spoke
it, in order to find that peace that resonates through his Word.
Will you walk with me on this journey? Can we discover together
what God has planned for us? I have lots to share with you from my
experience as well as from God’s truth concerning life, here, now,
and in our future.