DayBreaks for 8/19/15: A Higher Priority
At the Olympic games in Paris in 1924 the sport of canoe racing was added to the list of international competitions. The favorite team in the four-man canoe race was the United States team. One member of that team was a young man by the name of Bill Havens.
As the time for the Olympics neared, it became clear that Bill’s wife would give birth to her first child about the time that Bill would be competing in the Paris Games. In 1924 there were no jet airliners from Paris to the United States, only slow-moving ocean-going ships. And so Bill found himself in a dilemma. Should he go to Paris and risk not being at his wife’s side when their first child was born? Or should he withdraw from the team and remain behind. Bill’s wife insisted that he go to Paris. After all, he had been working towards this for all these years. It was the culmination of a life-long dream.
Clearly the decision was not easy for Bill to make. Finally, after much soul searching, Bill decided to withdraw from the competition and remain behind with his wife so that he could be with her when their first child arrived. Bill considered being at her side a higher priority than going to Paris to fulfill a life-long dream.
To make a long story short, the United States four-man canoe team won the gold medal at the Paris Olympics. And Bill’s wife was late in giving birth to her first child. She was so late that Bill could have competed in the event and returned home in time to be with her when she gave birth.
People said, “What a shame.” But Bill said he had no regrets. After all, his commitment to his wife was more important then, and it still was now.
The story of Bill Havens is a story of how one man paid a high price to fulfill a commitment to someone he loved.
But the story doesn’t end there. The child eventually born to Bill and his wife was a boy, whom they named Frank. Twenty-eight years later, in 1952, Bill received a cablegram from Frank. It was sent from Helsinki, Finland, where the 1952 Olympics were being held. The cablegram read, and I quote it exactly: “Dad, I won. I’m bringing home the gold medal you lost while waiting for me to be born.”
Frank Havens had just won the gold medal for the United States in the canoe-racing event, a medal his father had dreamed of winning but never did.
There is a sequel to our acts of commitment as well, our commitments to one another, and our commitment to God. We reap the abundant harvest of righteousness. We reap a harvest of joy and peace that endures forever.
What is your highest priority? What will you NOT surrender or give up because it is of too great of value to you? Is it Jesus and His Word?
PRAYER: Commitment is a hard lesson to learn, Lord. My will power is not strong enough and I need Your help! Help me hold fast to that which I know in my heart should be my highest priority! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple. To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.