Monday Morning Devotion-September11, 2023
That Decisive Moment
*from January 2019
Benaiah, son of Jehoida, was a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, who performed great exploits. He struck down two of Moab's best men. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. 2 Samuel 23:20
Remember the Kodak Moment? It was one of the most memorable television ads from the 1990's. The Eastman Kodak company sold lots of cameras, as well as film, by playing off people's natural affinity for happy memories.
The commercial would show a happy scene, one that any family would look back on fondly. One that they wanted to last a long time, even forever. Kodak showed them how that was possible by snapping a picture of the scene, so they could have a visual reminder, even years later, of that happy occasion. In doing so the warmth and joy of that time would come rushing back to them.
At the time Eastman Kodak dominated the film industry. In 1996, it had 140,000 employees and was said to have a net worth of $28 billion and controlled 85% of camera sales. In 2012, Kodak filed for bankruptcy. What happened?
They failed to recognize the changing technology that was on the cutting edge of revolutionizing the film industry. While Kodak clung to its old technology with slower, more cumbersome cameras the film industry and up-and-coming competitors passed them by with newer more innovative picture-taking ideas. They had missed the decisive moment. Or should we say they failed to capture the Kodak moment.
The words of R. T. Kendall in his book "The Anointing," refer to this kind of reliance on old techniques and ideas as "yesterday's man." In other words, we can only live off today's success so long. We must move past this 'anointing' to the next big thing, that next decisive moment. We don't always feel the need to do so as we are living off the momentum of this anointing that has taken place in our lives.
The term "decisive moment" was coined by famous "street photographer" Henri Cartier-Bresson. He said that "photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event."
Think about this. How many times have you experienced or witnessed something and said afterwards, "Darn, I wish I had my camera to take a picture of that." Or maybe you snapped a picture but you were a fraction too soon or even worse too late. Something more expressive or impressive happened that you didn't capture with your camera.
With the advent of the IPhone I became a picture-snapping fool. I shoot pictures of everything…most especially "my pride-and-joy," our granddaughters Quinn and Ellee. I have literally hundreds, perhaps even thousands (haven't stopped snapping pics long enough to count them) of pictures of these lovely, thirteen and eight-year old young ladies.
Even with all those photos, there have been numerous times when I missed the best shot, that decisive moment, by not having the camera turned on or being over-anxious and snapping too quickly or too slowly to recognize it.
Decisive moments last. Even if you didn't see the movie "Sudden Impact" you probably are familiar with and may have even used Clint Eastwood's now famous line: "Go ahead, make my day."
Or how about John Wayne in "True Grit": "Young fella, if you're looking for trouble, I'll accommodate you."
Not hard to get the message from those two movie lines!
And of yeah, "May the Force be with You." How many times have you heard and even said, as a gesture of good will, that line from Star Wars. Wonder if the screenwriter realized what a decisive moment he was creating when he wrote that?
Benaiah was one of David's mighty men. These were a group of 37 warriors who fought the battles for David. From that group only Benaiah rose to be commander of the army. How did he separate himself from the other mighty warriors?
Well, he simply went down into a pit, on a snowy day and killed a lion. No, he wasn't running from the lion and took refuge in that pit. He chased the lion into the pit, went in after him and killed him. Talk about bravery, or foolhardiness. Benaiah was obviously confident of his own fighting capabilities. So, when he took advantage of that decisive moment to kill a fearsome lion he stood out.
Imagine King David going through the resumes of the applicants for the position of Commander of the Army. As he read the various accomplishments he came to one that said, "killed a lion in a pit." Uh, that probably stood out. Benaiah's decisive moment got him the job.
Mark Batterson says: "Every life is defined by decisive moments and those moments of decision often dictate the course of decades."
That is food for thought. When you woke up this morning your first thought was probably not:" let's see, I wonder what decisive moments will occur in my life today." But, there could be some…maybe minor ones or perhaps even major ones.
Real life changing decisive moments could be few and far between but like the granddad with the camera on-ready for that once-in-a-lifetime shot (he thinks) of the granddaughters, we must be ready for them and grab hold of them when they occur.
Are you scared yet? You shouldn't be. "Batterson says: "This shouldn't make you nervous, not if God is ordering your footsteps. It should fill you with a sense of destiny!
In closing let me once again give thanks to Mark Batterson for a major part of this devotion. These ideas came from his impressive book: "Chase the Lion."
I was first introduced to Batterson's writing when our church, Good Samaritan, used his book for the Lenten Season. I highly recommend this book for you to use daily for the 40 days of Lent, 2019. It is called: "Draw the Circle: The 40-day Prayer Challenge." I promise it will have an impact on your life.
Prayer: Lord help us to be ready to recognize those decisive moments you send our way.