Walter the Stocker

Audio / Produced by The High Calling


Some while ago, we were opening a large supermarket in Corpus Christi, which was the headquarters of our company at the time. And everything was going along well. Many people were coming to see the store and the business was good, and I was busy as a little bee, making sure that everything was going right.

But I was afraid that we might begin to run out of some of those fast-moving items on the shelves—like sugar, coffee, shortening. I took a quick turn through the store and, sure enough, we were nearly out in the shortening shelf, and the coffee shelf was way down, and the soap shelf was nearly gone. I knew there was one boy still on the floor, a fellow by the name of Walter, who was out there to plug those empty holes. I went breezing through the backroom looking for Walter, and I found him. He had one of these little two-wheeled dollies, you know that you carry merchandise out on, and he was just breezing down the aisle at about 30 miles an hour, it looked like.

I said, "Walter, where are you going?"

He said, "I'm going to get those holes filled up."

I said, "That's wonderful, what do you have there?" I looked to see a case of La Choy Chinese bean sprouts. I said, "Man, what on earth are you doing with those bean sprouts?"

He said, "I'm going to get those holes filled up."

I said, "Let's get some of this coffee and shortening and sugar and the stuff we really need out there. That's what is important." And so we did.

What I had illustrated to me that day was the prime principle of success in any field, whether it's running a grocery store or running a house or taking care of children or any job you may have. The successful man, the good operator, the wise man always sees the most important thing and does that first and lets the secondary things wait until later.

from a talk called "What is Success?" delivered in 1956 at the Greater Boston Crusade in Mechanics Hall

Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it."

(Matt. 16:24-25)