Baseball icon and legend Yogi Berra passed away on September 22nd in Montclair, New Jersey. He was age 90. His health had been failing as evidenced partly by his failure to at least appear at the Yankees old-timers game this season. His wife, Carmen, to whom he was married for some 65 years, died back in 2014.
He had a career batting average of .285 with 358 home runs and 1,430 runs batted in – an amazing feat for someone who stood only about 5'7". Even more amazing is that he struck out just over 400 times in his career, a number that is unheard of for someone who hit with the kind of power he did. He is one of only five players to win the American League Most Valuable Player Award three times and is regarded as one of the greatest catchers in baseball history.
Yes, Yogi Berra is one of the all-time greats of the game. His name is mentioned along with the immortals - those who stand above all others like Ruth, DiMaggio, Gehrig and Mantle. But aside from his remarkable career on the field and his selfless military service for his country off of it, Yogi is sometimes best known for his wit and for sayings he uttered now known as 'Yogisms". Any casual search online will list these incredibly simple, humorous and sometime profound utterances. Here are just a few:
- No one goes there nowadays, it's too crowded.
- Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.
- A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore.
- Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours.
- It gets late early out here.
- Never answer an anonymous letter.
- You can observe a lot by just watching.
- It's like déjà vu all over again.
- It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much.
Then there are a few of his more famous ones like these:
- When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
- The future ain't what it used to be.
- It ain't over till it's over.
Whether or not he said every one is up for debate. But even Yogi, with his classic sense of wit, said, "I never said most of the things I said." Who knows if he was again kidding around or just being so typically humble?
Berra was indeed special and unique. He will be missed by many in and out of sports. But now he is in eternity. His glorious 90 years on earth are done, and he left behind much to remember him by. But a few of the above quotes can be loosely applied to that greatest decision that everyone must eventually face.
According to the Bible, everyone must at some point choose where they will spend eternity. Even doing nothing is one of those choices – the wrong one! Scripture teaches that, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” For that reason, each will come to a mighty "fork in the road" spiritually speaking. That is described in Matthew 7:13-14 where God describes two opposing paths. "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction , and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Again, there are two distinct "forks" – one destined for judgement and wrath and the other for glory!
One other Yogi quote is the one typically used in the sporting realm. "It ain't over till it's over.” In other words, there is always time to mount a comeback. If you have never yet accepted Christ as Savior, that opportunity still exists. It ain’t over – yet! But one day, and you know not when, the chance for redemption will be over. A moment will arrive when there will be no second chance to enter God’s family and spend eternity with Him in heaven. It will be over – one way or another!
Yogi is also credited with saying, “The future ain’t what it used to be.” Acts 16:31 says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” All who trust in Him to fully forgive their sins redirect their eternal future instantly. Or, as Mr. Berra put it, for these, “the future isn’t what it used to be.” For all who choose that fork that leads to the "narrow road", the future is the exact opposite of what it previously was. It has taken a 180-degree turn since all striving to please God through meaningless good works is over – forever.
Thanks Yogi for a lifetime of memories. But thank you Lord for a new life in Christ and eternity in heaven!
“And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:11-13)