Albert Pujols is a first baseman for the Angels. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, to be exact. They pay him $250,000,000 to play baseball, which is not a bad gig. It’s hard to like a guy who makes that much money playing a game, but not Albert. It’s hard not to like him. He’s an upstanding, respectful. big-hearted man who loves Jesus.
When an opposing player gets a single, Pujols makes the most of the few minutes they stand on first base together.
“Hey man, do you know where you are going to go when you die?”
“Have you thought about what’s going to happen to you after you’re dead?”
“You should think about it.”
If the same guy happens to get another base hit later in the game, Albert will say, “So, have you thought about it?”
Or it might go like this:
“Hey man, what’s the most important thing in your life?”
“What’s the most important thing in your life?”
“Uh… baseball, I guess.”
“So what are you gonna do when you can’t play baseball anymore?”
“Hey man, baseball is not going to last forever. You need something more in your life than baseball.”
If the same guy happens to wind up at first later in the game, Albert will say something like, “So, do you want to know what the most important thing is in my life?”
The runner cannot take his foot off the bag.
He cannot escape into the dugout.
He is stuck with Albert.
Albert has a captive audience.
This makes me think of the Apostle Paul, tethered to a Roman soldier in a prison cell. One chain connected the two men to ensure that an earthquake or angel didn’t miraculously spring the prisoner. Every six hours a new guard showed up at Paul’s door to take a shift. Every six hours for two years. That’s 2,920 six hour shifts. I’m guessing there were a few repeat customers.
You and I both know that Paul wasn’t going to waste that opportunity. If he couldn’t be out on the streets preaching, then, by golly, he was going to give an earful of the gospel to every one of those guards. And then do a little discipleship training on their return visits.
The Roman Empire thought they were holding Paul captive,
but really they were giving him a captive audience
that made its way into Caesar’s household
and across the known world.