I was reading a blog I follow Easy as Pie and was reminded of a story I have read and used a couple of times before.
Now to set the scene you need to know that like lots of LDS folk, I have a church assignment or to put into non LDS terms, an unpaid job! In fact I have a couple,
Each Sunday morning I teach a scripture class from the New Testament to a group of 18-30 year old single adults.
Every Thursday night I teach a bigger group of 18-30s in an class called Institute.
Finally just for a rest, I occasionally teach an early morning daily class of 14-18 year old's as a substitute teacher. This last class is known as a Seminary. In the UK Seminary is done early each morning before high school. In places with a higher density of church members Seminary is fitted in during the school day.
Now you have the background, I'd like to share the story of Seminary Doughnuts... The last time I shared this was with the Seminary class, as I know them all really well (2 are my kids) I decided to change it slightly to include their names. I guess its, "likening the doughnut unto yourself". I put my name in as the teacher,
I should point out I didn't compose the story, just tailored it to suit, but despite searching, the origins of the author seem to be conflicting, so unfortunately I can't ascribe credit to where it should be due. Also I wasn't mean enough to make them act out the story, we just read it...
One day, John asked Joseph to stay after class so he could talk with him.
‘Joseph how many push-ups can you do?’
‘I do about 200 every night.’
’200? That’s pretty good ‘
‘Do you think you could do 300?’
Joseph replied, ‘I don’t know…. I’ve never done 300 at a time.’
‘Do you think you could?’
‘Well, I can try,’
‘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,’
‘Well… I think I can…yeah, I can do it.’
‘Good! I need you to do this on Thursday. Let me explain what I have in mind.’
Thursday came and Joseph got to class early and sat in the front of the room. When class started, John pulled out a big box of donuts. No, these weren’t the normal kinds of donuts, they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centres and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited, it was thursday, the last class of the week, and they were going to get an early start on the weekend with a doughnut party.
John went to the first girl in the front row and asked, ‘Leah, do you want to have one of these donuts?’
Leah said: ‘Yes Please’
John then turned to Joseph and asked, ‘Joseph, would you do ten push-ups so that Leah can have a donut?’
‘Sure!’ Joseph jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten. Then Joseph again sat at his desk. John put a donut on Leah’s desk.
John then went to the next desk,Nathan, and asked, ‘Nathan, do you want a donut?’
Nathan replied ‘Yes.’
John asked, ‘Joseph would you do ten push-ups so Nathan can have a donut?’
Joseph did ten push-ups, Nathan got a donut. And so it went, down the first aisle, Joseph did ten push-ups for every person before they got their donut.
Walking down the second aisle, John came to Brent . Brent was on the basketball team, and in as good a condition as Joseph. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship.
When John asked, ‘Brent do you want a donut?’
Brent’s reply was, ‘Well, can I do my own push-ups?’
John said, ‘No, Joseph has to do them.’
Then Brent said, ‘Well, I don’t want one then.’
John shrugged and then turned to Joseph and asked, ‘Joseph, would you do ten push-ups so Brent can have a donut he doesn’t want?’
With perfect obedience Joseph started to do ten push-ups.
Brent said, ‘HEY! I said I didn’t want one!’
John 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 Brents’s desk.
Now by this time, Joseph 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.
John started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry.
John asked Leah, ‘Leah, do you want a donut?’
Sternly ,Leah said, ‘No.’
Then John asked Joseph, ‘Joseph, would you do ten more push-ups so Leah can have a donut that she doesn’t want?’
Joseph did ten….Leah got a donut.
By 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.
Joseph 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.
John asked Jacob, who was the most vocal in the class, to watch Joseph do each push up to make sure he did the full ten in a set, because he couldn’t bear to watch all of Joseph’s work for all of those uneaten donuts. He sent Macauly over to where Joseph was so he could help count the sets and encourage Joseph.
John 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 John realized this, he did a quick count and saw that now there were 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Joseph would be able to make it.
John went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Joseph was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.
Joseph asked John, ‘Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?’
John thought for a moment, ‘Well, they’re your push ups. You are in charge now. You can do them any way that you want.’ And John went on.
A few moments later, Joe, 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!’ Joe didn’t know what was going on.
Joseph picked up his head and said, ‘No, let him come.’
John said, ‘You realize that if Joe comes in you will have to do ten push-ups for him?’
Joseph said, ‘Yes, let him come in. Give him a donut.’
John said, ‘Okay, Joseph, I’ll let you get Joe’s out of the way right now. Joe, do you want a donut?’
Joe, new to the room, hardly knew what was going on. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘give me a donut.’ ‘Joseph, will you do ten push-ups so that Joe can have a donut?’
Joseph did ten push-ups very slowly and with great effort. Joe, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down.
John finished the fourth row, and then started on those visitors seated by the heaters. Joseph’s arms were now shaking with each push-up in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. By this time sweat was profusely dropping off of his face, 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.
John went to Olivia, the second to last, and asked, ‘Olivia, do you want a donut?’
Olivia said, very sadly, ‘No, thank you.’
John quietly asked, ‘Joseph, would you do ten push-ups so that Olivia can have a donut she doesn’t want?’
Grunting from the effort, Joseph did ten very slow push-ups for Olivia.
Then John turned to the last girl, Rachel. ‘Rachel, do you want a donut?’
Rachel, with tears flowing down her face, began to cry. ‘John, why can’t I help him?’
John, with tears of his own, said, ‘No, Joseph 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. Joseph here is the only student with a perfect grade. Everyone else has failed a test, skipped class, or offered me inferior work. Joseph told me that in football practice, when a player messes up he must do push-ups. I told Joseph 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.’
‘Joseph, would you do ten push-ups so Rachel can have a donut?’
As Joseph 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 exhausted.
John turned to the room and said..
‘And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross, plead to the Father, ‘Into thy hands I commend my spirit.’ With the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him, Although Perfect as a gift he paid our debts, He yielded up His life. And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten.’