Reflecting on Mr. Mark Hayward

Mr. Mark Hayward was of the highest quality. His integrity was unshakable. He was the first man I had ever met who told me he saved himself for marriage. That shook my world, and I too wanted to be able to tell young men the same story. My wife, daughter, and I have been deeply changed for the better because of the impression he left on me. 

Since he was the first man I knew who had been walking closely with the Lord for all of his life, I thought there would be more men like him. It wasn’t until years later that I realized how special he was-and blessed I was to share in his life. It’s difficult to capture how uniquely good this man was, so I can only think to recount one story to illustrate his character.

One summer I was working at Hume Lake after high school. When Mr. Hayward heard I was up there, he asked me if I could help him with his cabin. It wasn’t anything too difficult, but I remember wanting to just so I’d be able to spend more time with him. After he had showed me what he needed help with, we started talking as he drove me back to where I worked. He shared a story of some famous basketball player who slept around with literally hundreds of women and when asked about it, he replied “the person who is truly a man only sleeps with one woman.” As Mr. Hayward told the story, he had tears in his eyes. He encouraged me to live for Jesus and love people well. As he so frequently did, he had inspired me. 

Mr. Hayward had wrecked my view of manhood. He was one of the greatest men I knew, yet he loved people furiously. In fact, it was that very same love that made him such a great man. He taught me this: “play now – pay later, or pay now – play later.” He lived by that in every way, and it showed in his relationships. He was the embodiment of integrity, love, and manliness. I look forward to heaven when he’ll shake my hand, give me his half grin, and poke me in the chest as he so often did when he told me something important.