By Allen Palmeri
WILDWOOD—St. Louis Cardinals’ First Baseman Albert Pujols celebrated his 30th birthday by sharing the Gospel at an event he regularly attends to support the mission of his church.
Pujols was one of three speakers Jan. 16 at “Manly Night,” a special event for men and boys put on by West County Community Church, Wildwood, at Lafayette High School. The three-time National League Most Valuable Player spoke for eight minutes on the evening’s theme of “Satisfied,” telling of his faith in Christ.
Preceding Pujols to the microphone were John Naumo, a local bodybuilder, and Aeneas Williams, a former Pro Bowl defensive back for the St. Louis Rams.
“Tonight your appointment is with Jesus,” Pujols said. “You may think you are here to listen to me, to Aeneas, to John, but you are here to hear the Word of God. He’s knocking at the door of your heart to have a personal relationship with you. So to experience the satisfaction of knowing Jesus Christ is the best thing.”
Pujols did something a little different this year by reading from a prepared text and defining the theme word. Satisfaction is “to fulfill the desires, expectations, needs and demands of a person,” and one way to achieve it is by living out a few Bible texts – Phil. 2:3, Gal. 5:19-24, and Josh. 24:15.
Although it becomes harder as his fame increases, Pujols said he reminds himself of certain fundamentals like living for Jesus is the best decision and serving others through humility is the norm.
“In baseball, every night there’s thousands of people telling me how great I am during a game,” Pujols said. “When I go out in public, people approach me to tell me something great about myself. That can go to my head really quickly if I don’t keep my spirit in check. Humility’s getting on your knees and staying in order with God’s will for what He wants from me, not for what the world wants.”
Pastor Phil Hunter of West County Community Church built the theme around the symptoms of not being satisfied and the fruit of being satisfied. The negatives are when a person is angry, hopeless, anxious, or bitter; the positives include such things as joy, patience, kindness, and goodness.
“You cannot be satisfied without God taking control of your life,” Hunter said.
Pujols gave honor and praise to God by saying he did not coordinate his selection of the verses in Galatians with Hunter. He said God has been teaching him lately about the importance of his character growing in these areas, and it just so happened to fit Jan. 16.
“It would be easy to go out and do whatever I want, but those things only satisfy the flesh for a moment,” Pujols said. “Jesus satisfies the soul forever.”
Hunter closed by asking the men and boys to get on their knees and to consider the eternal status of their souls. This involved admitting that they are sinners and that some were acting apart from God as rulers of their own destinies. Hunter urged them to turn from their sins and yield control of their lives to Christ.
“You’re the captain, Lord,” Hunter said, leading the group in prayer. “I repent. I change my mind about my independent rebellion, that no one’s going to tell me what to do, and I surrender to You, for You are King and Lord, God.”
Hunter, who admitted that he was biased, introduced Pujols as “the best baseball player that ever lived.”