The Devil Pays Off in Counterfeit Money
Dr. R. G. Lee originally published his timeless sermon Payday, Someday, in 1926. It is said that he developed the message following the suggestion of a deacon at a prayer meeting in 1919 and that he preached it at least once a year at his home church, Bellevue Baptist Church, Memphis, Tennessee. All total, it is related that Dr. Lee preached Payday, Someday, no less than 1,275 times.
During the sermon about Naboth, Ahab, Jezebel, and Elijah, Dr. Lee shared a story about a young man who called him “Chief of the Kangaroo Court”, and what happened to him.
“When I was pastor of the First Baptist Church of New Orleans, all that I preached and taught was
sent out over the radio. In my “fan mail” I received letters from a young man who called himself
‘”Chief of the Kangaroo Court.” Many nasty, critical things he said. Sometimes he wrote a nice
line—and a nice line was, in all the vulgar things he wrote, like a gardenia in a garbage can.
One day I received a telephone call from a nurse in the Charity Hospital of New Orleans. It was about this fellow who so often dipped his pen in slop, who seldom thrust his pen into nectar. She said:
“Pastor, there is a young man down here whose name we do not know, who will not tell us his name. All he will tell us is that he is chief of the Kangaroo Court. He is going to die. He says that
you are the only preacher in New Orleans that he has ever heard — and he has never seen you. He wants to see you. Will you come down?”
“Yes,” I replied. And I quit what I was doing and hurried down to the hospital.
The young nurse met me at the entrance to the charity ward and took me in. A glance around showed me cots on the north side, cots on the south side, beds on the east side and beds on the west side – and clusters of cots in the center of the huge ward. In a place by itself, somewhat removed from all other cots and beds, was a bed on which lay a young man about nineteen or twenty years of age – big of frame, though the ravages of disease had brought a slenderness. The
nurse, with little ado, introduced me to the young man, saying: “This, sir, is the Chief of the Kangaroo Court.”
I found myself looking into two of the wildest, weirdest eves I have ever seen. As kindly as I could, I spoke, saying “Hello.” “Howdy do?” he answered in a voice that was a discourteous and furious snarl — more like the voice of a mad wolf than the voice of a rational man.
‘”Is there something I can do for you?” I asked as kindly as I could speak.
“No. Nothing! Not a thing. Nothin’ ‘tall! – unless you throw my body to the buzzards when I am
dead – if the buzzards will have it!” he said, with half a shout and with a sort of fierce resentment that made me wonder why he had ever sent for me.
Then his voice lost some of the snarl — and he spoke again.
“I sent for you, sir, because I want you to tell these young fellows here something for me. I sent for you because I know you go up and down the land and talk to many young people. And I want you to tell ’em, and tell ’em every chance you get, that the Devil pays only in counterfeit money.
” Oh! I wish I could tell all men and women and all boys and girls everywhere to believe the truth that Satan always pays in counterfeit money, that all his pearls are paste pearls, that the nectar he offers is poisoned through and through.”
Oh, that men would learn the truth and be warned by the truth that if they eat the Devil’s corn, he will choke them with the cob.
I stayed with this young man nearly two hours. Occasionally he spoke. There was a desperate earnestness in the young man’s voice as he looked at me with wild eyes where terror was enthroned.
After while I saw those eyes become as though they were glass as he gazed at the ceiling above. I saw his huge lean chest heave like a bellows. I felt his hand clutch at mine as a drowning man would grab for a rope. I held his hand. I heard the raucous gurgle in his throat.
Then he became quiet – like a forest when the cyclone is long gone. When he died, the little nurse called me to her, excitedly.
“Come here!” she called.
“What do you want, child?” I asked.
“I want to wash your hands!” She meant she wanted to wash my hands with a disinfectant. Then
she added – with something of fright in her words, “It’s dangerous to touch him!”
The Devil had paid the young man off in counterfeit money.