When George Washington was a young major in the militia in Virginia in 1754, he was given an order to lead 350 inexperienced soldiers through the wilderness to a fort which was close to the modern-day city of Pittsburgh. The French occupied the fort.
Washington’s forces set up camp around forty miles from the French fort. The name of the fort was Fort Necessity.
When they approached the enemy, they faced seven hundred French troops. The odds were definitely against them. They were outnumbered two-to-one. Washington and his soldiers had to retreat back to Fort Necessity.
History shows that their fort was in a bad location. The fort was difficult to defend because it was surrounded by hills where the French fighters could hide and attack. The battle took less than ten hours. The end result is that Washington was defeated.
To sum things up, here is what happened that day: George Washington lost his first battle. He lost his first fort. He lost his first command. All of this happened in one day. He went back to his home state of Virginia and to Mount Vernon, but he made no excuses.
He also never gave up. He learned from his mistakes. His failures actually made him a better soldier and a better leader.
Our first president reminds us today that no one is really a failure until he or she quits trying.
The Apostle Paul certainly understood that when he said, “This one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and pressing forward to what lies ahead.” (Philippians 3: 12-14)