1 Corinthians 6:9–11 (NKJV)
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
Once upon a time there were two pirates, Gordy and Plunk. Gordy was an uncouth, rude, and despicable character. He had stringy hair that he hadn’t washed in years; his teeth were yellow; his breath smelled like garlic and onions; and he had tatoos of skulls, ravens, and cutlasses on most of his body. He slobbered on himself when he ate and had food matted in his beard that he occasionally picked out and ate. He swore at friend and foe alike, was drunk most every evening, and regularly stole things from his fellow pirates. He leered at the women in the cove and couldn’t fathom why even the prostitutes shunned him and his money.
Then there was Plunk. Plunk was as cultured and debonair as Gordy was rude and uncouth. He prided himself on his cleanliness: his hair was well kempt, his teeth were brushed, and his breath smelled like mint. He ate with fork and knife, used a napkin to dab the occasional crumb from his face, was moderate in his consumption of alcohol, and never stole from his fellow pirates; he even had a reputation for sparing the lives of soldiers he took captive. He seldom lost his temper, was a smooth talker with the ladies, and rarely had to use his money to conquer them. It is said that he even bathed regularly and kept rose petals in his pockets to perfume his path.
But as different as Gordy and Plunk were they shared one thing in common: they had no interest in serving the king. They were happy to be pirates. They had even refused the king’s offers of amnesty for all who would give up their piracy. They preferred their life of rebellion – serving with Redbeard was the life for them, as different as their lives were.
It came to pass that the king, though he had been patient, grew tired of the pirates’ raids on his ships and settlements. He sent his most experienced captain to bring them to justice. Redbeard’s ship was captured and Gordy and Plunk found themselves facing the captain of the King’s ship. He examined the men carefully, being sure to pinch his nose as Gordy came closer, and gave orders to hang them both from the yardarm. The seargant at arms collected a length of rope, placed the nooses around their necks, and hung them without further ado. Beneath Gordy’s body were crumbs from the breakfast he’d eaten that day; beneath Plunk some of the rose petals that had been in his pockets.
Our story reminds us that whether our manners be uncouth or cultured, if we are found on the day of judgment refusing obedience to King Jesus, the Creator and Redeemer of all, then we shall be judged. Solomon exhorts his son in Proverbs 4:23, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Our chief problem as human beings is not so much in what we do but in who we are, in what we desire, in whom we serve. All men, Paul tells us, are born pirates in the world: we are rebels against the lawful King – God Himself. Some of us are uncouth; some are cultured; but by nature we all share this in common: we have no interest in serving the King. This King invites us to turn from our life of piracy, to seek His forgiveness, and to begin serving under His banner. But many refuse His offer – they prefer their life of rebellion to submission to Him. So what of you? One day the king will grow tired of your rebellion and call you before Him; will you end up with Gordy and Plunk hanging from the yardarm? Or will you turn now and seek the King’s amnesty before it’s too late?
This morning as we enter into His presence, let us acknowledge our piracy, seeking forgiveness through His Son Jesus. And let us kneel as we seek His mercy.