Monday, July 3, 2017


        Ernie Johnson, Jr. is a sportscaster and son of Ernie Johnson, Sr., former Major League relief pitcher for the Milwaukee Braves. Senior played alongside teammates Warren Spahn and Hank Aaron, and pitched against the likes of Stan Musial, Ted Williams and Jackie Robinson. He later went to the broadcast booth and took many opportunities to share some amazing moments with his listeners.
        Senior’s favorite story, however, wasn’t about the giants of baseball, but about his son Junior when the boy was in PeeWee baseball. It happened during a break in a sandlot game when the ball had bounced over the fence into the lot next door. The coach, pitcher and infielders had finished their conference on the mound, and were getting ready to play when someone noticed two of their outfielders had gone missing. 
        Junior, the center fielder, and the left fielder had climbed the fence to retrieve the missing baseball when something over there caught their eye, a ripe blackberry patch. So while the infielders had been getting instruction from the coach, the two outfielders were harvesting whatever delicious fruit they could reach with their skinny arms. 
        This delay later became known the Johnsons as the “blackberry moment.” It represented a time of briefly stepping away from the game (i.e. job, meeting, difficult task, or other pressing matter at hand) to follow something more interesting, unexpected and better. 
        Have you ever had a “blackberry moment” in your life? Was there a time you were side-tracked by the unexpected and were blessed by it? Or maybe you’ve taken a chance briefly doing something seemingly less important but much better, more fun or fulfilling? 
        From time to time our Lord places in front of us certain people, events or sights that may never come again, and our reaching out to them becomes a lasting blessing or memory. Like the time in 1968 I happened to be in Washington, DC, picking up a friend, and ended up standing along the Reflection Pool across from the Lincoln Memorial with tens of thousands of others as a motorcade carrying the body of Robert F. Kennedy passed by. Or the Sunday I sat down in the only empty chair in a Bible Class, right next to a pretty woman in a green dress who later became my wife. 
        God gives us occasional opportunities with blessings that may never come again. It could be lending a helpful hand to someone in need, or speaking a kind word to a stranger, or giving an unexpected but needed gift. Will we step aside from the normal and seize the “blackberry moment” or let it pass us by? Moses told his people during the sabbatical (seventh) year to forgive a debt, or help neighbor in need, And the Lord your God will bless you, as He promised you.” (Deuteronomy 15:6)

Enjoy your Fourth of July,

Rev. Bob Tasler,
(Story of the Johnsons from Reader’s Digest, July/August, 2017, p 36-38)

No comments: