Dr. Wayne Shaw
Pastor,First Christian Church
He was a first. He was the first president who was the son of a president. (Former president George W. Bush was the only other one.) He was the first and only ex- President to serve in Congress. Having served his term as president, he intended, as he put it, “to bury myself in complete retirement as much as a nun taking the veil.” But without running, John Quincy Adams was elected by his district to the House of Representatives. Rather than retirement, Adams spent the last two decades of his life engaged in some of the most significant political battles this young nation had known. One of the longest battles he waged was his opposition to the “gag rule.” In 1836 southern Congressmen had passed this rule which forbid any discussion of the issue of slavery in the House. No Congressman could even read a petition which related to the topic of slavery.
Every year, for eight tireless years, Adams made a motion to repeal this unconstitutional ruling. Every year for eight years, it failed. However, in 1844 his resolution finally passed. Upon hearing the roll call and realizing the rule he never expected to fall within his lifetime, had, in fact, been toppled, the elderly statesman cried, “Blessed forever, blessed be the name of God!” Later when asked what it was that had sustained his resolve to fight for this seemingly hopeless and definitely politically dangerous cause, he replied, “Duty is ours, results are God’s.”
I believe that needs to be our motto as well. Ours is to do what God has called us to do. Ours is to do God’s will in God’s way. Ours is to do our duty. Ours is to leave the results in God’s hands.
Four years later, in 1848, John Q. Adams collapsed on the floor of the House from a stroke. Two days later he died. He will be remembered as a man who fought for what he considered right.