Yogi Berra was quoted as saying “If you come to the fork in the road take it.” Actually this made perfect sense as Yogi was giving directions to his house in New Jersey. The road to his house was interrupted by a blockage and two different roads seemingly going in different directions. Each road however circled back to Yogi’s house so if you got to the fork you couldn’t go wrong. Unfortunately the forks in our life roads go in opposite directions and the destinations are completely different.
It was just a few short weeks ago. Earl Robinette was contacted by the Detroit Tigers. They wanted him to come in and sign a contract. His son had contacted the Tigers office and told them the story that Earl had been living with for years. You see Earl is 80 years old. The contract that he was given to sign was a nice gesture by the Tigers. It was a one day contract to symbolically relive a time in his life years ago. It was a fork in his road that appeared in 1954 and he has lived with the decision all of these years. “What would have happened if I had signed that contract?”, he must have asked himself over and over. “How would that decision have affected my life and where would I be now?”
In 1954 Earl Robinette was 19 years old. He was the oldest of 6 children and he had responsibilities. That day he was out about a quarter of a mile from his farm house using a horse to cultivate a cornfield. It had rained and he wasn’t able to get the tractor in the area. He saw his father frantically waiving a white towel for him to come to the house. Earl rode the horse in and his brothers gave him a clean shirt and hosed him down because he was filthy. When he entered the house to his surprise there were 3 Detroit Tigers executives there to meet him. They had discovered Earl at a tryout camp in Mount Pleasant, Michigan which is just south of his hometown of Clare County. Earl was a switch hitting outfielder with a strong arm and apparently the Tigers felt he had a great baseball future! According to Earl there was a contract laid out in front of him which included a $28,000 signing bonus. Earl was pleased to know that these executive experts had considered him worthy of such a contract and was ready to sign the deal. He looked to his parents for final approval before he took the leap but they just sat there. He never could figure out why they didn’t respond. Maybe they thought they were looking out for Earl’s best interest. Maybe they didn’t think much of the life of a baseball player. Whatever the reason they just sat there until the executives decided that it wasn’t going to happen and picked up their contract and left.
So Earl now 80 walked down the long hall way at Comerica Park. The walls were covered with Tiger players from the past. Maybe if things had worked out differently Earl’s picture would be right there with them. Of course it wasn’t and there was nothing he could do about that now. Earl was seated at a table that signings regularly took place. Most of the big names on the team had signed their contracts right on that same table. This contract was specially made for Earl and he didn’t hesitate to sign it! He was given a Tiger jersey and a hat. It was a time of reflection Had he signed, Earl summed up that he never would have met his wife and had the happy family that he ended up with. Had the signing taken place it is anyone’s guess where he would have ended up. It’s one of life’s mysteries that we all go through in one way or another based on decisions that we make.
Jesus too has a contract waiting for us to sign. There isn’t a mystery as far as where the decision to follow Christ takes us. It leads to a heavenly home and eternal life with him! There won’t be a man made hall with pictures to remember. In God’s hall of fame faces shine forever and ever and never grow old! Unlike the contract from the Tigers Jesus keeps his contract on the table. You may be older now and regret the fact that you haven’t signed his contract yet. Know that it isn’t too late. Jesus is still waiting with his pen in hand. Like the directions to Yogi’s house whether you are 19 or 80 the destination after taking God’s road ends at the same place!
by Lewis Hamilton
from the book “The Gardener and My Garden” c1997
I’ve got a contract with the Lord
that with his blood he signed
He offered it to all of us
yet it’s one of a kind
I examined it with a fine toothed comb
A lot of time was spent
to try to find restrictions
Where was all the fine print?
It promised me eternal life,
a heavenly home I’d win
if I just opened up my heart
and let the Savior in
Now logically I’ve been told
I’d have to earn my way
No one in their right mind
would give it all away
Yet the contract says, whosoever will,
that has to include me
It says it is a gift from God
and it’s absolutely free
Now I’ve accepted his free gift
and my life has changed, no doubt
I cannot work salvation in
but I certainly can work it out
There’s someone who is at your door
with his contract for you today
Will you accept his free gift
or send him on his way?
But God found fault with the
people and said: “The time is
coming, declares the Lord, when
I will make a new covenant with
the house of Israel and with the
house of Judah.