Yogi Berra is an American treasure. Born to a working class family in St. Louis, Missouri, he was raised right across the street from Joe Garagiola, who became his lifelong friend. At age thirteen he quit school with his parents' consent to start working in a shoe factory. He became an all-star catcher with the New York Yankees and was known as one of the best hitters ever to play the position. However, if you ask people today about Yogi Berra most of them probably would be surprised to know that he played baseball at all. They know him better for his quirky statements which have come to be known as "Yogiisms."
The American public sees Yogi as a ruse in flesh; a running joke that keeps us smiling constantly at his folksy redundancies. The sad thing is, what the American public doesn't know is keeping them from truly appreciating the incredible wealth of knowledge that Yogi possesses. I submit to you a statement which Yogi has made. "If people don't want to come out to the park, nobody's going to stop them." One bottom line that Berra draws in this regard in his book, When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It!, is that people usually will not come to the ballpark to watch a team lose.
Enter the church. If ever there was a group of winners, the church is it. Salvation is theirs through the blood of Christ. The victory is won. The price has been paid, the debt written off, the deal sealed; however you want to put it, the church has been sealed with God's promise. So why don't we live like it? Why don't we live like we are the winners? Why don't we behave like champions? Why do people see so much that is wrong with the church? What if it's because there is? Most people see the church the same way the old drunk did who wandered into a church service that was being held in a local bar. He looked at the preacher and said, "Hmmm. New bartender." Then he looked at the people sitting with him and commented, "Yep, same old crowd."
The only way a losing ball team starts winning is to change something. Sometimes its the manager, sometimes its a number of players, but something always changes to provide the ball team with a new perspective that can lead to winning. Winning puts rear ends in the seats. Why don't we as the church understand that? Why do we stubbornly reproduce the same lives that have failed to witness Christ to the lost in a way that makes His salvation atttractive? Why don't we repent and change? The world wants to see that Jesus makes a difference. If He doesn't make a difference to the church, then why would He make a difference to them?
Jesus spoke to John to write to the angel of the church of Ephesus. "I know your works, your labor, your pateince, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have pateince, and have labored for my name's sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love." Revelation 2:2-4 What the world wants to see is that we're with Jesus. They want to see us with our first love, faithfully presenting the life of Christ in all its grace and beauty. When we show them that, nobody's going to stop them.
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