A Lesson from Yogi

Baseball legend Yogi Berra passed away on September 22, 2015 at the age of 90. As a member of the renowned New York Yankees in the 40s, 50s & early 60s, his storied career was punctuated by 14 trips to the World Series, 10 championship titles and 18 All-Star appearances. The Yankees retired his number in 1972, and he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame that same year. When his playing days ended after the World Series in 1963, Yogi transitioned into a lengthy career as coach and manager until he finally retired from baseball in 1989.

As a talented player and manager, Yogi Berra left an indelible impression on the game of baseball, but this lovable character is also remembered for interesting turns of phrase that became known as “Berra-isms”, mostly because they didn’t make a lot of sense at first glance! Here are a few of his more noteworthy gems…

Yogi Berra
Yogi Berra

“We made too many wrong mistakes.”

“Congratulations. I knew the record would stand until it was broken.”

“Pair up in threes.”

“If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.”

“I usually take a two-hour nap from one to four.”

“You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.”

And then there’s this one:

“Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.”

You know, the math on that last one may not work out, but if you apply that concept to living a godly life, he might have been on to something! Meaning that a successful strategy to resisting the temptation of sin is centered mainly on how we think, because our actions will always follow what first goes through our minds. The apostle James made this connection for us when he clearly delineated the association between temptation, desire and sin. (James 1:13-16)

While the appeal to disobey God often begins with something outside of us, it’s when our internal desire grabs onto the object of temptation, contemplates it, then devises a strategy for possessing it that we’re succumb to sinful behavior. Instead of following this all too frequently traveled path, we would do well to remember Jesus’ own pattern for dealing with temptation demonstrated in Matthew 4. His repeated trust and dependence on the written Word of God (vs 4, 7, 10) reminds us of the paramount importance of filling our minds with scripture so that we can resist the tempter before we allow our minds to be corrupted by sinful desire that leads to selfish, immoral, unethical and/or dishonest actions.

So, if you need a catch phrase to help you in living a godly life, my own “Berra-ism” says –

Resisting temptation is 90% based on the Word of God; the other half is Scripture.

16 thoughts on “A Lesson from Yogi

  1. Years ago, okay, many years ago I was being scouted by MLB as a freshman in high school. I ate, slept,(with my glove), and lived BASEBALL. My story as a 12 year old Little Leaguer almost reached Life Magazine. But when the opportunity presented itself, was I prepared to step up to the plate with my Yogi Berra ball bat, and get out of the way of the pitch…the fastball, the curveball in life? And then, after being unsuccessful dodging SIN, Jesus had been scouting me all along, and at the age of 30…I accepted Christ, becoming a member of His team. I am inside His Ballpark and still hoping to hit it out of the park!

    1. Love this story, Mel!! The cool thing is that even folks with no athletic ability at all still get drafted by Jesus if they will just sign onto his team!

  2. The mind can be very powerful and mental strength is so important to any success. Thank you for sharing your insights with us at #WednesdaysWisdom. Have a lovely day and see you at the next link up.

  3. Our minds control so much and they are so difficult to control! 😉 Thank you for the reminder to fill our minds with God’s Word! Stopping over from #CoffeeforYourHeart
    Blessings and smiles,

  4. Hi Karen,
    I’m visiting from Holley’s link-up today and I was intrigued by your post on Yogi. He certainly was unique and I love what you did with one of his quotes — I think he would have approved! 🙂

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