Robert Green Lee, Baptist Preacher
Born: November 11th, 1886 in South Carolina
Died: July 20, 1978, in Memphis, Tennessee
Born in a little log cabin in South Carolina, Robert was the fifth child of David and Sarah Lee. His parents were loving Christians, who raised their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Robert was saved in 1898 at church, and although still a young boy he always remembered the choir singing: "Out of my bondage, sorrow and night, Jesus I come, Jesus I come."
At the age of 21 he went to work on the Panama Canal and upon returning enrolled at Furman University. He was very scholarly, and so excelled that he was offered the chair of Latin at Furman. While many of his peers pressured him to accept the position, Roberts stayed true to God's call on his life as a preacher. His wife commented, "That's good! God never meant for you to dig around Latin roots. He meant for you to be a preacher."
So, preach he did. His first pastorate was at Edgefield, South Carolina. This was followed by pastorates at First Baptist Church of Chester, South Carolina; First Baptist Church of New Orleans, Louisiana; Citadel Square Baptist Church of Charleston, South Carolina and finally Bellevue Baptist Church of Memphis, Tennessee.
He served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention an unprecedented three terms. In his resignation address, Robert Lee stated his firm stand on the Word of God: "You can count on me until my tongue is silent in the grave and until my hand can no longer wield a pen to keep my unalterable stand for the Bible as the inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God - giving rebuke to and standing in opposition to all enemies of the Bible, even as I have done for 50 years."
"Pay Day Someday" remains his most famous sermon and was first preached as a devotion on a Wednesday night. Here is an excerpt:
Did God mean what He said, Or was He playing a prank on royalty? Did pay-day come? "Pay-day—Someday" is written in the constitution of God's universe. The retributive providence of God is a reality as certainly as the laws of gravitation are a reality. And to Ahab and Jezebel, pay-day came as certainly as night follows day, because sin carries in itself the seed of its own fatal penalty.
...The fathers sow the wind and the children reap the whirlwind. One generation labors to scatter tares, and the next generation reaps tares and retribution immeasurable. To the individual who goes not the direction God points, a terrible pay-day comes. To the nation which forgets God, pay-day will come in the awful realization of the truth that the "nations which forget God shall be turned into hell." When nations trample on the principles of the Almighty, the result is that the world is beaten with many stripes. We have seen nations slide into Gehenna—and the smoke of their torment has gone up before our eyes day and night. To the home that has no room for the Christ, death and grave clothes are certain. "Ichabod" will be written about the church that soft-pedals on unpleasant truth or that stands not unwaveringly for "the faith once delivered"—and it will acknowledge its retribution in that it will become "a drifting sepulchre manned by a frozen crew."
...Paul Lawrence Dunbar showed wisdom as great as the wisdom of Churchill and a knowledge of Nature's laws as great as Emerson's knowledge when he wrote the autobiography of many individual sinners in these poetic and potent words:
This is the price I pay—
This is the price I pay—
Just for one riotous day—
Years of regret and of grief,
And sorrow without relief.
Suffer it I will, my friend,
Suffer it I will, my friend,
Suffer it until the end,
Until the grave shall give relief.
Small was the thing I bought,
Small was the thing at best,
Small was the debt, I thought,
But, O God!—the interest.
All these statements are but verification of Bible truth: Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him (Prov. 26:27). Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them (Prov. 1:31, 32). Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same (Job 4:8). For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind (Hos. 8:7).
...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, wierdest eyes 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 thetruth and be warned by the truth that if they eat the Devil's corn, he will choke them with the cob.
...But what about Ahab? Did pay-day come for him? Yes. Consider how. Three years went by. Ahab was still king. And I dare say that during those three years Jezebel had reminded him that they were eating herbs out of Naboth's vineyard. I can hear her say something like this as they sat at the king's table: "Ahab, help yourself to these herbs. I thought Elijah said the dogs were going to lick your blood. I guess his dogs lost their noses and lost the trail." But I think that during those three years, Ahab never heard a dog bark that he did not jump.
...And the only way I know for any man or woman on earth to escape the sinner's pay-day on earth and the sinner's hell beyond—making sure of the Christian's pay-day on earth and the Christian's heaven beyond the Christian's pay-day— is through Christ Jesus, who took the sinner's place upon the Cross, becoming for all sinners all that God must judge, that sinners through faith in Christ Jesus might become all that God cannot judge. Read the entire sermon here: link