“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”

Psalm 5:3

A President’s Prior Engagement

(Please read Hebrews 10:24-35)

July 1

James Abram Garfield, the 20th President of the United States, was a preacher in the Restoration Movement. He had been elected to Congress in 1863, where he served for 17 years. In the deadlocked Republican convention of 1880 his name had not been placed in nomination when he got a few votes on the 34th ballot. He won the nomination two ballots later and conducted a “front porch” campaign, letting others make most of the campaign speeches.

The nation would never know what impact a full term by Garfield would have had on the country or the church. After only 120 days as President, he was shot by a disappointed job-seeker, and he died in the White House 80 days later.

On Garfield’s first Saturday in Washington as President, a member of the new cabinet requested him to call a cabinet meeting for 10 o’clock the next morning to handle a matter that he said threatened a national crisis. Garfield refused, saying he had another engagement. When the President would not budge, the Secretary said he’d like to know what appointment the President had that was too important to break for this supposed crisis.

Garfield replied, “My engagement is with my Lord to meet him at his house and at his table at 10:30 tomorrow, and I shall be there.” It is said that the President and his family not only attended church services regularly but also took part in social activities of the congregation.

We hope it brightens your day, in this materialistic age, to know that at least one President placed a high priority on church attendance.

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