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Stephen was nineteen when he opened a shop on the Philadelphia waterfront, selling candy and confections to sailors and their wives.

One day a sailor walked into the shop with a bag of nuts and spices from his trip and asked Stephen if he would incorporate the items into his candy. Stephen believed in “constant improvement” and agreed.

The sailor was so impressed with the result that he encouraged other sailors to bring exotic foods from their travels to Stephen. People liked the candy with the new ingredients so much that Stephen’s business exploded. Stephen became known for selling customers an attractive empty box and letting them fill it with their selections. He called it a “sampler”.

Demand grew, and Stephen began shipping candy in beautifully designed boxes. Around 1900, his CEO, Walter Sharp, was visiting his grandmother and noticed an embroidered box. Because he had learned “constant improvement” from Stephen, he immediately changed to embroidered boxes, all based on his grandmother’s original box.

The candy boxes became so popular that the company named them after the founder, Stephen Whitman, calling them the “Whitman Sampler”.

The box became a marketing legend, selling millions of packages of candy.

All this happened because Stephen and those he mentored had a commitment to “constant improvement”. They were determined to get better.

What has God entrusted you with? Are you “improving”?

The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 9:10, “Whatever your hand finds to do it with all your might…” NIV

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