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First Things First

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”1

In his sermon, “The Turning Point,” Richard Fairchild tells how, at the Olympic Games in Paris in 1924, Bill Havens, a member of the four-man U.S. canoe rowing team, made the very difficult decision to withdraw from the games in order to be with his wife for the birth of their first child. The U.S. team won the gold medal and it turned out that the birth of the baby was so late Bill could have stayed on the team and arrived home in plenty of time for the baby’s birth.

However, Bill said he had no regrets because his first commitment was to his wife.

However, there is a fascinating sequel to this story. “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: ‘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.”2

It is true for all of us in that whenever we honor our commitments—no matter what the immediate losses may seem—in the long run it always pays to do the right thing. Always.

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please help me to always put first things first, honor all my commitments, and never forget to keep the long-term effects of my actions in mind. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus’s name, amen.”

1. Ephesians 5:25 (NIV).
2. Richard Fairchild, “The Turning Point,”


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.