I remember watching ABC’s “Wide World of Sports.” When the show aired its introduction, I spoke with the voice over, “The thrill of victory; the agony of defeat.” An MLB player knows the latter feeling well. Last week, headlines blazed, Darwin falls short. Three outs from a new major league record, Chicago Cub’s 2nd baseman knows the agony of missing the mark. Darwin Barney fielded his position without error for 141 straight games. In game 142, Barney sailed through 8 innings with the error-free streak in tact. In the 9th inning, three outs from breaking the major league record for “consecutive games played without an error,” Barney fielded a ground ball ripped up the middle of the field, and slung it in the general direction of 1st base. The ball sailed wide right, a run scored, and the streak ended. Three outs short of setting a new Major League baseball record. Ouch, that’s gotta hurt. In the post game interview, Barney commented,
“It has been fun. It had to end at some point. It’s just how the game works and it’s a funny game. This is why baseball is unbelievable.”
Quite possibly, the title “Darwin Falls Short” captured your intrigue because you reasoned this article to be about Charles Darwin. Sure, evolution flies in the face of God, and Darwin’s theory of evolution grossly deceives millions of people, and yes, obviously Darwin fell short, but I chose a Darwin who ties up his cleats for a living. Really, I’m picking on neither Darwin. Both men exemplify the truth about all mankind. We all fall short.
The word “sin” leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths. Ask someone not familiar with Romans 3:23 if he’s a sinner. Don’t be surprised if the person answers, “I’m not that bad.” For whatever reason, the term “sinner” conjures up images of murderers, thieves, pedophiles…a laundry list of malefactors creating sensational headlines in America’s newspapers everyday. Those men ARE sinners, but the “sinning” label sticks to every individual with a beating heart. The Bible plainly states,
“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
A few months ago I stood behind the pulpit in my Pastor’s absence and asked the question, “How many have ever lied about something?” Every hand shot up. I then asked, “How many have ever stolen anything…and this includes peeking over a classmates shoulder to copy an answer?” Once again the congregation admitted their guilt. I announced, “We’re all liars and thieves!” It’s not necessarily popular to point out that condition, but it helps people see with clarity that everyone sins. Everyone misses the mark. Everyone, along with Darwin, falls short.
Barney’s teammates bemoaned the missed record more than Darwin himself. The first baseman admitted he should have snatched up that ball with his glove. But ultimately, Darwin’s wild throw drew the error classification. Darwin blamed no one. Sadly, people do tend to blame others for moral miscues, but the Bible teaches, people sin because of personal choice. Sometimes humans in their search for a scapegoat, point a finger at Satan, saying, “The Devil made me do it.” But James dispels that notion,
“…each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.” (James 1:14)
Thankfully, one descended from Heaven to bear our blame, shouldering the weight of the sin of the world, so that anyone calling on His name might be saved. Both Darwins fell short…as has all of humanity. Jesus, tempted in every way without sin, offers forgiveness. His love trumps any sin committed, and repentance results in a clean heart.
Darwin Barney commented, “Baseball is an unbelievable thing.”
So is grace, Darwin. So is grace.