Keeping the good books

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Keeping the good books

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri Aug 12, 2005 2:17 am

The minister had just gone over the quarterly accounts, and it was apparent that the finances of his church were heading for some difficult territory. However, while he was searching for a spare surplice in the church storeroom, in a dusty corner he also discovered a number of cartons of new bibles that his predecessor must have ordered but not yet got round to distributing.

Towards the end of his next Sunday sermon, the pastor asked for three volunteers from the congregation who would be willing to sell the bibles door-to-door for $10 each to help bring in the cash that their church so desperately needed.

Peter, Paul and Louis all raised their hands.

Looking down at his congregation, the reverend knew that Peter and Paul earned their living as salesmen and would likely do a good job.

On the other hand, he had serious doubts about Louis. Louis was just a small farmer who, although very pious, mostly kept to himself because he was embarrassed by his speech impediment; the fact was that even into his fifties, he had been afflicted with a bad stutter his entire life. But, not wanting to dishearten the fellow, the minister decided to let him have a go regardless.

So after the service he allocated each of his three volunteers a third of the bible consignment. He also asked them to convene a week later to report on their sales, and they all drove off with their back seats stacked high with cartons filled with the tomes.

After the next Sunday service, all four of them gathered in the little office next to the sacristy. Here the reverend asked his first volunteer, "Well, Peter, how did you make out last week selling the Good Book?"

Proudly Peter handed the reverend an envelope and replied, "Father, thanks to my professional skills I was able to sell a full 20 copies; here's 200 dollars that I’ve collected on behalf of the church."

"Well done, Peter!" said the pastor, shaking his hand vigorously. "You are indeed a fine salesman, and the Church is much indebted to you!"

Turning to his next helper he asked, "Paul, how many of them were you able to sell for us last week?"

Grinning broadly, Paul replied in a confident tone, "Reverend, as you know I too am a trained salesman, so I was glad to be able to benefit the church with my expertise. Last week I sold 28 bibles, and here's the 280 dollars I collected."

"That really is splendid, Paul!” the minister responded, clapping him on the shoulder. “You are a true professional! The Church is greatly in your debt also."

With some apprehension, the pastor finally addressed farmer Louis: "So, Louis, did you manage to sell any bibles last week?"

Louis silently handed him a large envelope. The minister unsealed it and shook out a shower of bills onto his desk. Blinking with surprise, he sat down, and for the next five minutes he busily stacked the bills into little piles as he counted up the money.

"Good grief, Louis," he exclaimed as soon as he had finished his calculation, "this comes to 3200 dollars! Do you mean to say that you actually succeeded in selling 320 bibles for us, door-to-door, in a single week?”

Louis merely nodded.

“That's impossible!" Peter burst out, chagrined at being so badly outdone.

Paul was equally discomfited. "Hey, we're professional salesmen, and yet you’re saying you sold over six times as many bibles as both of us put together! Come on!"

"I have to admit, that does seem unlikely," the reverend agreed cautiously. "Louis, I think you'd better enlighten us all as to how you managed this most remarkable feat."

Louis spread his upturned hands in a gesture of perplexity. "I re-re-really do-do-don't kn-kn-know f-f-f-for sh-sh-sh-sure," he stammered, and ground to an embarrassed halt.

At this point Peter broke in. "For crying out loud, Louis, just tell us what you said when they answered the door!"

"All I s-s-said wa-wa-was," said Louis, "w-w-w-w-would you l-l-l-l-l-like t-t-to b-b-b-buy th-th-th-this b-b-b-b-bible f-f-for t-t-ten b-b-b-bucks – or wo-wo-would you j-j-j-just l-l-like m-m-me t-t-to st-st-stand h-h-here and re-re-re-re-re-re-re-read it t-to you?
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