Sermon Illustrations

The “far country” leaves no room for error or adjustment.

Lou Gehrig, the famous baseball player with the New York Yankees, once found himself in a pressure-filled moment during a game. Unwittingly, a New York sportswriter gave a lesson more about life than baseball when he wrote what happened.

Gehrig came to bat in the ninth inning with the winning runs on second and third. He ran the count full to three balls and two strikes. All that he needed to do was get a base hit and the game would be won. The stands were beside themselves with excitement. The opposing team was watching this last pitch anxiously in the dugout. They were very aware of the skill of Lou Gehrig and more times than they cared to remember, he had won the game for the Yankees in situations just like this one.

The pitcher wound up and hurled a heater of a strike across the plate. Lou Gehrig did not even take a swing at the pitch. The ump yelled, “Strike three” Very slowly, Lou turned to the umpire and said something to him. At this the home crowd of Yankee fans went wild because Lou never argued with the umpire.

The sportswriter all piled over their seats and went straight to the field to find out what Lou had said. They asked the ump what had been said because whatever it was would certainly make the headlines the next morning. The umpire smiled and turned to Lou and told him to tell them what he had said. He looked a little startled as he answered, “I said, ‘Mr. Ump, I would give ten dollars to have that one back.”

The New York sportswriter was so impressed with this that he added to his column that day: There are people all over the world who would give ten dollars or ten thousand dollars to get just one minute back and for the privilege of changing something they said or did in that minute. (Adapted from Ray Angell, Baskets of Silver, pp. 35-36)

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