Whose Computer Is It?

Answer for Students
Unit 12 - The Sermon on the Mount

TEXT: Matthew 5:1-5; 8:5-10; Isaiah 29:19; 57:15

Knowing who had really built the project, Lincoln was faced with a challenging question.

Damian and Lincoln bent over the table, straining to see the fine wires, chips, and numerous other parts littering the bench in front of them.

“Lincoln, we need to put a jumper here, and then we’ll . . .” Damian’s voice was muffled as he bent over to look more closely.

“But Damian, I thought you said that other modification should do it,” Lincoln moaned.

“Nope, we need to get another part. Got some money on you?” Damian asked.

“Yeah. Let’s go,” Lincoln answered.

They grabbed their bikes and headed for the computer shop. On the worktable, they left a nearly completed, built-from-scratch computer—Damian’s “brain child.” He had persuaded Lincoln to try out his idea and enter it in the Science Fair.

Damian and Lincoln came from two very different economic backgrounds. While Lincoln had everything he needed or wanted, Damian struggled to help his family make ends meet. He had a morning paper route and spent a couple of hours after school working at the computer shop. He had learned a lot there and was eager to apply some of his knowledge. So when Lincoln had idly commented one day that it would be fun to try to build a computer, he’d been excited about helping with a project he could never have afforded to begin on his own.

The boys had been back from the computer shop just a short while when Damian said, “There, that should do it. With this wire in place the connection should . . .” The computer hummed to life. Both boys let out a whoop of delight. “It works!”

The next several days were spent in working out the bugs and programming. Friday afternoon Lincoln got his dad to take it to the school in the van and help set it up, just a couple of hours before the judging was to begin. They plugged it in . . . but when Lincoln pressed the switch, nothing happened!

Lincoln’s hands felt clammy. His stomach churned. He squinted at this connection and that. Tapped here and there. Stared in at the mass of wires. What should he do? The only thing he could do was get Damian—but Damian didn’t get off work until 6:00. And the fair started at 7:00!

Lincoln’s dad stood by with a perplexed expression on his face. At last he spoke. “Lincoln . . . you built this computer. Surely you can fix it!”

There was a moment of silence. Then Lincoln looked at his dad. “I didn’t really build it, Dad. Damian did. I bought the parts and did whatever little I could, but Damian told me what to do.” He stopped, and then added softly, “It’s really not my computer. Damian is the brains behind it. His name should be on this entry application.”

“Do you think Damian could spot the problem?” his dad inquired.

“Oh yeah, probably wouldn’t take him a minute.” Lincoln stood looking down at the application form lying beside the computer on the table. Slowly he took a pen from his pocket and made a change on a single line. “Entrant’s name: Damian Lopez,” the first line now read.

His dad smiled and put his hand on Lincoln’s shoulder. “I’m proud of you, Son. Now I think you and I had better head over to the computer shop and see if we can bring Damian over here to have a look at this.”

A little while later, Lincoln watched Damian’s nimble fingers expertly fix the loose connection. What a great guy, he thought. He’s spent so many hours working on this entry, and he doesn’t expect any credit for it. He has considered it my project all along. But the whole project is really his! I’m glad I realized it in time.

6:55: The computer was humming away like a breeze.

9:15: The judges were announcing, “First place goes to Damian Lopez for his computer.”

9:17: Damian stood on the platform with the judges, the surprise of hearing his name announced still clearly written on his face. “I want to thank you for selecting this entry,” his first words were, “but the project really belongs to Lincoln Brooks. He . . .”

The crowd’s thunderous applause drowned out the rest.