• Today's Daily Devotion
Scarcity
“I was struck with General Washington. You had prepared me to entertain a favorable opinion of him, but I thought the half was not told me,” Abigail Adams wrote ...

Scarcity

“I was struck with General Washington. You had prepared me to entertain a favorable opinion of him, but I thought the half was not told me,” Abigail Adams wrote to her husband shortly after Washington arrived at Cambridge. “Dignity with ease and complacency, the gentleman and soldier, look agreeably blended in him. Modesty marks every line and feature of his face,” she continued, her heart overflowing with hope for military salvation.

Abigail was so impressed that she turned to poetry to describe Washington: “Those lines of Dryden instantly occurred to me. Mark his Majestick fabrick! He’s a temple Sacred by birth, and built by hands divine. His Souls the Deity that lodges there. Nor is the pile unworthy of the God.”

And while Abigail and others in Boston took stock of Washington, he took stock of his situation. Washington assessed the facts on the ground by visiting the militias and determining the enemy’s position.

“The bulk of their army commanded by General Howe [who had replaced Gage], lays on Bunker’s Hill,” Washington reported in a letter to John Hancock. Although the militia surrounded the British regulars by land, they could not stop the British navy from supplying General Howe and his army from the harbor.

What Washington discovered about his own army’s stock could be summed up in one word: scarcity. Where Washington gushed with competence in Abigail Adam’s eyes, he saw that the army lacked the basics. They did not know how to take a simple count of their men. They were as inexperienced as day-old eagles. “How could such an army ever defeat the redcoats and drive them from Boston?” he likely wondered.

“We labor under great disadvantages for want of tents, for though they have been helped out by a collection of now useless sails from the seaport towns, the number is yet far short of our necessities,” Washington wrote, detailing the scarcity of resources, such as tents, shirts, ammunition, and money.

The gunpowder supply had dwindled to only nine rounds per man. When Washington learned this, he was unable to speak for more than an hour. “But I most sincerely wish the whole army was properly provided to take the field, as I am well assured, that besides greater expedition and activity in case of alarm, it would highly conduce to health and discipline,” he explained.

Although his army lacked resources and knowledge, they were rich in enthusiasm. “The deficiency of numbers, discipline and stores can only lead to this conclusion, that their spirit has exceeded their strength,” he concluded.

George Washington’s job was to turn scarcity into plenty before the poverty of war broke his army’s bank of patriotism.

Prayer

Lord, grant me the eagerness to work hard when the going is tough and my motivation is weak.

“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest–and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man”

(Proverbs 24:33, 34).


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