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1 Corinthians 12

Significant Contribution

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the 18th of April in 75;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

A teacher read this familiar verse to his class recently and some students were able to identify it as the first verse of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem Paul Revere’s Ride.

Then the teacher read the last four lines of the poem:

In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

The teacher’s question this time was, “What was the name of Paul Revere’s horse?” He had the students read the entire poem and no one could come up with an answer. The reason? Despite the references to the horse in the poem’s 13 verses, its name is never mentioned.

The point to the teacher’s exercise was that while Paul Revere got all the acclaim for spreading his message, an unknown horse made a significant contribution by taking him where he wanted to go. (Many historians say that Longfellow’s poem gives Paul Revere more credit than he deserves, but that’s another story.)

When Al Unser Jr. won the Indianapolis 500 race last year, few people could name the people who designed and built the car that brought him victory, or the mechanics who maintained it.

So it is with all of us. We all have received support and encouragement from some unsung friend, some conscientious teacher, some loving parent.

No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.

Bits & Pieces, January 5, 1995, pp. 19-21


  • Ask Him Anything, L.J. Ogilvie, Word, 1981, pp. 83ff
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