“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” Mark 8:36
The story of Faust best captures a certain aspect of American life related to Americans’ worship of achievement. If you are not familiar with Faust, there have been numerous retellings, all featuring a protagonist who makes a deal with a devil for power or knowledge in exchange for his soul. Each version of the story ends differently; in some, Faust loses his soul while in others, he receives redemption. Alex Rodriguez could be termed our most recent Faust. A-Rod, as he is affectionately known, was once the most sought after baseball player in America. The New York Yankees agreed to pay him $275 million for ten years with the expectation that he would break the all-time home run record. I don’t know the whole A-Rod story. Perhaps in a year we will see a book that gives us a clearer picture of what made A-Rod choose to get entangled in performance enhancing drugs. What is clear is that A-Rod made a decision to cheat. He had a good life playing the game that he loved as a boy. He made more money than most would see in a lifetime. He spent time with attractive and famous women. Did he really need more? Was the pressure so great to break the home run record that he felt he needed to cheat to achieve that?
I have no desire to throw stones at A-Rod. I have no desire to defend him either. What I find interesting is that A-Rod is not the only one who figuratively sold his soul. Many people do the same each day, only for much less. Every time we make small compromises on things of moral importance, we give a little bit of our soul. Every time we choose the temporal over the spiritual, we are giving away a little bit of our soul. Every time we choose our career over our family, we give away a little bit of our soul. With each compromise we make regarding the important things of life, we give away a little bit more of our soul. We risk looking back over our lives and finding out that we sold our souls cheaply over the course of our lives. At least A-Rod got $275 million for his soul. Was it really worth it?
-by Pastor Shawn Martin