Happy Birthday, George Washington!! You were born February 22, 1732. You’d be 289 years old today!! What a legacy of faith and especially a legacy of character you have left us to follow and to model today…..
In July of 1755, 20 years before the American Revolutionary War, Colonel George Washington, at the age of 23, fought alongside more than 1,300 men in a battle to run the French out of Fort Duquesne. It was a bitter battle with French soldiers and Native American warriors pounding the American troops with constant fire. After the battle, Washington discovered four bullet holes in his jacket. Strangely, he was unharmed. He attributed his escape to the prayers of his devout mother.
Many years later, when Washington was again visiting Fort Duquesne, he met with a band of Native Americans who had fought against him in that battle. The Chief told Washington that he knew the Great Spirit was protecting Washington those many years ago.
The Chief had instructed his best marksmen to shoot at Washington. Each man took deadly aim, yet Washington escaped without even a scratch. That day, the Chief had predicted that Washington would someday serve as a great leader and the “founder of a mighty nation,” because God was protecting a leader with such high morals and such an impeccable character.
Washington led the Revolutionary War against England and King George III. The loss of the colonies was devastating to the King of England. He could not utter the word “Independence” for the rest of his life. When the fighting in America stopped, King George and all his royal cronies in Europe were sure that George Washington would have himself crowned “Emperor of the New World.”
That’s what they would have done. When he was told, on the contrary, that Washington planned to surrender his military commission and return to farming at Mount Vernon, George III said, “Well, if he does that, George Washington will be the greatest man in the world.”
There is great power in giving up power, in emptying oneself. Jesus did it twice — when he was born at Bethlehem and when he died upon the cross.
Because of George Washington, the Presidency to this day rests more on the character of the person who inhabits the Oval Office than on anything else. The Founding Fathers and Mothers designed it that way. It was their idea to find a person in America with the greatest personal character and let them begin a tradition that would shape our national character for the future.
They insisted that Washington leave Mount Vernon and become our First President. When he took the Presidency, he wrote: “I walk on an untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn into precedent.”
My parents and teachers put this into words that I as a child growing up could understand. When 6-year old George was confronted by his father with chopping down the cherry tree, he replied, “I cannot tell a lie, I chopped down the cherry tree!”
The Founders of our nation chose George Washington because of his unblemished character so that the Presidents who followed in his footsteps knew the standard of character they were called to exemplify in order to lead a great nation forward.
What about the character of George Washington do YOU see as a great blessing for you as an American and a blessing for the Presidents who have followed after him?
Thanks to William Johnson, William Boyer and Hugh Sidey.
YOUR POTENTIAL IS THE SUM OF ALL THE POSSIBILITIES GOD HAS FOR YOUR LIFE!