What would John Wesley tell Albert Pujols to do?

This week’s Christian Century reports on trouble brewing in St. Louis among Cardinals fans who also are evangelical Christians. Some, including a Presbyterian pastor turned tweeter, worry that superstar Albert Pujols risks tarnishing his Christian image with too aggressive bargaining tactics.

Others think Pujols should grab as much as he can get and then use his millions to do good. “God does use money to help people, and I see God doing that with Pujols,” another pastor stated. (Pujols and his wife, Diedre, are already giving through a family foundation focused on persons living with Down syndrome in the US and impoverished individuals in the Dominican Republic.)

What kind of negotiator would John Wesley be if he were a baseball superstar?

The brouhaha in St. Louis reminds me of what John Wesley, patron saint of Methodists and other Wesleyan-leaning denominations, had to say about Christians and the use of money. Wesley’s advice to his followers: Gain all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can.  

When it comes to “gaining,” Wesley believed that Christians have much in common with unbelievers and can “meet them on their own ground.” In fact, he argued that Christians have a “bounden duty” to earn all they can. But not for selfish ends. The goal is to be able to give, and to do so with extravagant generosity

One of the top earning evangelists of all time, Wesley practiced what he preached—all three points of the sermon. Over the course of his lifetime, Wesley earned the equivalent of $30 million (in today’s dollars). Yet he lived simply, many years giving away as much as 98 percent of his income.  At his death, Wesley’s estate consisted of a few coins and a couple of silver spoons.

So back to Albert Pujols and his quest for a $200 million-plus contract.  The super-Card’s biographer predicts that “Albert will go down in history as one of the great ones—someone who grabbed the money and gave it away at the same time.”

That, I think, is what John Wesley would tell Albert Pujols to do. It’s what John Wesley tells us all to do.


  1. Nice piece on Albert Pujols and John Wesley. I wonder how many people seek more just to have it to give away?


  1. […] a friend and frequent commenter here at the search for piety and obedience — has posted an interesting and thoughtful commentary on the controversy surrounding Albert Pujols, a first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals. […]

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