The story is told of a country lad who was hired for a salesman’s job at a city department store.  It was one of those massive stores that has every department imaginable.  In fact it was the biggest store in the world – you could get anything there.

     The boss said, “You can start tomorrow, Friday morning, and I’ll come and see you when we close up.”

     When the boss looked up the young man the next day at closing time, he saw him shaking hands with a beaming customer.  After they parted, he walked over and asked, “Well, that looked good!  How many sales did you make today?”

     “That was the only one,” said the young salesman.

     “Only one!?!” blurted the boss.  “Most of my staff make 20 or 30 sales a day.  You’ll have to do better than that!  Well, how much was the sale worth?”

     “$227,340 and change,” said the young man.

     The boss paused for a moment, blinking a few times.  “H… H… How did you manage that?!?”

     “Well, when he came in this morning and I sold him a small fish hook.  Then, I sold him a medium hook, and then a really large hook.  Then I sold him a small fishing line, a medium one, and then a big one.  I then sold him a spear gun, a wetsuit, scuba gear, nets, chum, and coolers.  I asked him where he was going fishing and he said down the coast.  We decided he would probably need a new boat, so I took him down to the boat department and sold him that twenty-foot schooner with the twin engines.  Then, he said that his Volkswagen probably wouldn’t be able to pull it, so I took him to the car department and sold him the new Deluxe Cruiser, with a winch, storage rack, rust proofing, and a built-in refrigerator.  Oh, and floor mats.”

     The boss took two steps back and asked in astonishment, “You sold all that to a guy who came in for a fish hook?!”

     “No,” answered the salesman. “He came in to buy a blanket.”

     “A blanket?”

     “Yeah, an extra blanket for the couch.  He just had a fight with his wife. I said to him, ‘Well, your weekend’s ruined, so you may as well go fishing…'”

     One thing leads to another.  And that’s the way it should work in our spiritual lives.  An old Chinese proverb says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  So it is with Christianity.  We look ahead to where we want to be, and we take a step.  Then another.  And another.  As we grow and mature in Christ, we continue to add virtue upon virtue.

     “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.” (2 Peter 1:5-7).

     Wherever you are in your spiritual life, I pray that you’ll take a step up today, adding something that will make you a little more in the image of Jesus Christ.  As you add one thing to another, you will be much closer to that goal by the end of 2009. – TFTD