By E. W. Whitmire
George Armstrong Custer is famous for a couple of things. One of them has to do with what he did; the other is in what he said. He made what was to become his famous quote early in 1876. “There are not enough Indians in the world to defeat the 7th Calvary.” It was only a relatively few, short days later that what he did, took place. It is called the Battle of the Little Bighorn, or what most of us now know as “Custer’s Last Stand”. It was then that five of the 7th Cavalry’s twelve companies were completely annihilated; Custer himself was killed, as were two of his brothers, a nephew, and a brother-in-law. His plan to conquer the Sioux and bring Sitting Bull back to the reservation was a colossal failure.
Over the course of history there have been many such failures. Several should leap to our mind. They ought to serve as warnings for us not to become mired in complacency or to be content with the status quo. Let me share just one.
Kodak was a company that had become a giant in industry. It dominated the photographic scene for over 100 years. At one time, it commanded an 89 percent market share of all photographic film sales within the United States. Almost everyone used the brand. The company’s advertising campaign promoting the capturing of the best happenings in life on film as a “Kodak Moment” had swept the nation. The company had become an American icon and the term “Kodak Moment” seemed to be a turn of phrase that was here to stay in the speech of mainstream America.
What happened since then, has become a colossal story of failure and missed opportunities. Kodak was a giant of industry, but they became a gigantic casualty in the wake of digital photography. Sadly enough, it was a technology that Kodak invented, but did not use, that brought them down.
It’s amazing, but Kodak engineer Steve Sasson invented the first digital camera in 1975. He later said, “But it was film-less photography, so management’s reaction was, That’s cute. But don’t tell anyone about it.” With the key to the future of photography in their hands and the ability to shape the world, the company entered into a decades long decline. They refused to take the opportunity that was placed before them and were unable to understand or to respond to the advancing tide of the digital revolution. In 2012, the “Kodak Moment” was declared to be no more. What had been a leader of technology and a giant of industry shaping the minds of America, was forced to file for bankruptcy and was no more.
How could this happen? Where did the leaders of this once-proud organization go so wrong? How could they miss their time? Perhaps there are better questions that could be asked of us today. How might the churches of America, which has also entered into a time of decline, resemble this story? Our world and America itself, is exploding with population growth. Yet, the American church has entered a time of decline. Are there similarities? Does America’s churches resemble this story? With the souls that are at stake and the future here before us, those are questions that should be asked and comparisons that should be made.
With the help and grace of God, The United Pentecostal Church, International is prayerfully NOT on that slippery slope that caused the fall of Custer and that of the camera giant, Kodak. Pride and confidence in their own abilities gave them a self-assurance that blinded them to the moment. With God’s help we will not be blinded by our past success, but in particularly, the Texas District will be like “the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do;” (1 Chronicles 12:32).
There is a tsunami of population growth coming into Texas. This is not a time to be feared and this is not a day to be complacent, rather it is an opportunity to be grasped with both hands. The choices and decisions we make today will become the testimonies, the miracles and the churches of our tomorrow. It is a choice we must make with surety and with faith. In doing so, we WILL impact our world. We WILL grasp the moment and we WILL make a difference to the lost. We have been given the opportunity to join with those before us, of whom it has been said, “these that have turned the world upside down have come hither also;” (Acts 17:6). This will be done through more Bible Studies, more Preaching Points, more Daughter Works and more North American Missions works. We are faced with a great opportunity. It requires both a great vision and a great work. Let us grasp our time and be about the Master’s business!
The above article, “We Will Not Miss Our Time,” is written by E. W. Whitmire. The article was excerpted from Apostolic Sentinel.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.