James A. Garfield, the 20th President of the United States, took office on March 4, 1881. On his first Sunday in Washington following his inauguration, a member of the Cabinet insisted that a meeting must be called to discuss a matter that purportedly threatened a national crisis. The President refused, stating that he was already committed to another appointment. The Cabinet member insisted, telling the President that the national matter was of grave importance and that he should break his prior engagement. Still, Mr. Garfield refused to do so.
Obviously appalled, the Cabinet member remarked, “I would be interested to know with whom you have an engagement so important that it cannot be broken.”
Mr. Garfield replied, “I will be as frank as you are. My engagement is with the Lord, to meet Him at His house, at His table, at 10 o’clock tomorrow morning, and I shall be there.”
What an example! May we, too, be so dedicated to the worship of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, that we shall not forget we have a standing “prior engagement” every Sunday morning.
6 thoughts on “A Prior Engagement”
I read somewhere that when President Garfield was elected to the Presidency he gave up his Eldership in the church. When he made his announcement he so appropriately said he was “Stepping down from the Eldership to become President!” He certainly hid his priorities in the right order!
Doris, I have heard that too. There is a biography on him at the restoration movement website, not sure if that article mentions him being an elder. Wayne Jackson had the comment about him being an elder on his site. Thanks for the good comment!
Doris, that is a negative way of looking at what President Garfield did “Stepping down from the Eldership to become President.” I believe God had a purpose for putting Garfield in the Presidency or he would not have been there. I wish God would put another qualified Elder in the Presidency position, we need a strong Christian leader in that position today. Our country will not survive on the current course it is on.
I think what Doris was referring to was Garfield’s own comments where he said, “I resign the highest office in the land to become president of the United States.” He was magnifying the biblical importance of God’s plan for church leadership, acknowledging the fact that there is no higher leadership role on earth than being an elder in the church. And you are right, we do need a strong Christian leader for our country. We should all pray that some day that will happen.
One should never accept a position they cannot fulfill!