Well, you have probably heard the news that caused my heart to sink this AM: Albert Pujols would be signed by Angels of Anaheim in a 10 year $250 million some odd contract. My first thoughts were ones of frustration. After my friends Scott Lamb and Tim Ellsworth wrote Pujols: More Than The Game, I’ve really worked hard to say that Pujols wasn’t like the other money-hungry guys. He uses the money God gives him in good ways to bless others. I was bummed that the focus was on the contract and amount of money “he deserved” etc.
But, as I noticed the response by so many on Facebook and other places, especially Christian people, I realized that this was another opportunity from God to look at my own heart, cravings and desires and see what God might want to teach me. You see, I naturally default to thinking that I am more righteous than Albert because I would never be about the contract, or so I think. Yet, undergoing feedback and evaluation by my elders each year and wanting more money for the services I give (and fighting against sinful cravings like greed more and more) I know that I can be guilty of greed just as easily. It is an expression of self-righteousness to conclude and even boast, “Thank God, I’m not like Albert Pujols selling out for more money.” Rather, I should confess, “God be merciful to me, the sinner.” Even if this is true (and most of us aren’t close enough to the situation to know Albert’s heart), I know that my heart’s exalting itself is a sinful response.
Then, there’s the issue of putting faith in man. I loved watching Albert play the game. When he messed with Brad Lidge’s head a few years back hitting that homer off Lidge that is still probably flying, I went running through the house screaming. I love the Cardinals. I love winning World Championships and Albert’s been a huge part of this. However, I have to be careful I’m not ascribing to Pujols worship and praise even trust only deserved for Jesus. This is my heart’s problem.
So, today has proven a good opportunity to grow in grace for me. Maybe like me, you could grow through this, too. Therefore, today, lift up your eyes to the hills where your help comes from. Not a maneuver at baseball’s winter meetings, but from the Lord who made heaven and earth.