“The Prince of Thieves”
This is the story of how the greatest pirate of all time, Captain Black met his end. He was the most feared pirate of all the seas. He was so famous that everyone called him the Prince of Thieves. Well, you know back in the old days, before we had our nice churches and such, Christianity was protected by monks. Monks are people who live together all alone in a far away place and pray and serve God. You usually see pictures of them in long brown robes.
Brother Andrew was a little different from his fellow monks because he loved the out of doors so much and the sea. He often camped on the beach not far from the monestary where all the monks lived. But he did good things, keeping the beach clean and fishing and farming which provided food for the other monks so it was God’s calling for him to be on the beach. Especially the day the Prince of Thieves landed on those shores.
Captain Black spotted the island of the monks just ahead. He was pleased as he had his entire fortune on board. It was an ingenious plan to hide his booty on the monk’s island, as nobody would look for it there. He was the wealthiest pirate of them all and his men were fiercely loyal to him. He gave the command to his men to prepare to land on the island. He would let all of his men go to the beach in small boats, leaving his big pirate ship in deep water. They would unload it tomorrow after they were rested.
Brother Andrew stood and looked into the setting sun. He saw the small boats making their way toward his beach. But he did not panic. He added more vegetables to his stew and more wood on his fire for the night.
“Ahoy Brother Andrew!” Captain Black called to his old friend.
“Blessings Brother Black!” The monk responded. Captain Black liked Brother Andrew because he wasn’t afraid of him and always greeted him with blessings. Some of the newer pirates were wary of the young monk but soon all accepted him because their captain clearly trusted him. Moreover, what was amazing about it was that the monk trusted the notorious pirate.
“Arrr, I thought Christian folk despised low lives like us pirates.” Scalawag Sam said to Brother Andrew as the brother served him more stew. “I figured the good people of the world thought we were better off not being in heaven.”
“Well Sam,” Brother Andrew answered smiling. “You have your prince of thieves but the church has someone like Captain Blood but we call him the Prince of Peace. And he came to earth to do all he can to make sure you and your friends all DO go to heaven. He came to earth just for you and all your crimes and sins have already been forgiven by him so you can meet him and start your journey to heaven anytime you want. See God loves you just as much as he does me or the monks or any Christian in this world.”
“I never heard anyone say they loved me much less that God did.” The confused pirate said moving off to sit on the beach and eat and think about what he heard that day. The men all found places to bunk down for the night. But Brother Andrew and Captain Black talked by the fire.
“You should come with us Brother Andrew.” The captain invited. The men all like you and you would be the richest monk in the world.”
“I do not need riches. They would take too much time to watch and worry about. Serving God is best done without riches.” He responded.
“I have all I need. I have the love and friendship of my heavenly father which will last an eternity. I have the community of brothers, the love of the townspeople and even the friendship of notorious pirates. I have the secret I know about the pirates that the world does not know. I know that even ‘low lives’ as they call you are good men at heart, with loyalty and friendship to give and hungry hearts to know more about God and His Kingdom.”
“Ah you do have a secret and I’ll wager its one no one would believe from you. I must make do with fabulous wealth that is more than a king could ask for and the devotion and loyalty of my men.” Said the Captain toasting the monk who he considered one of his closest friends.
Suddenly, on board the deserted ship, a lantern left burning in the weapons room fell when its cord broke. The fire lit a small blaze that moved directly into the gunpowder room.
The explosion on the horizon lit up the entire sea like daytime. Captain Black leapt to his feet and all of his men were suddenly wide awake and yelling in panic as they watched their ship go up in flames. There was another explosion and then another and with each, the captain cried out like he was being struck with bullets. Brother Andrew ran to his aid and helped him to the ground as he and the pirates watched the ship and all of his wealth sink to the bottom of the deep blue sea.
“My booty! My wealth! My gold! It’s all gone.” Captain Black moaned. He looked at Brother Andrew who stayed close to his friend’s side knowing he must be going through so much anguish. “Well, at least I have my loyal men. Together we can build again and….” But when the captain looked up, the men were all gone. They had taken the boats and were already on their way to find the next rich pirate captain to serve.
“It looks like your men were only loyal to your wealth. That is not true faithfulness.” Brother Andrew observed.
“I need a treasure that cannot be sent to the bottom of the ocean Brother Andrew.” The captain said to his friend. “And I need a crew that is faithful to me, not to my gold. But is that possible?”
“Yes, there is a friend that is closer than any brother and will never leave you or forsake you. His name is Jesus Christ and he is the Prince of Peace, the perfect savior for the prince of thieves. I will take you to him and he will show you a wealth that is greater than a thousand ships can carry. And it is a treasure that is kept for you in heaven, where no fire, explosion or thieves can ever touch it because it is protected by God himself.”
The monk’s words put life inside of the old tired pirate and the thing nobody could expect happened. Captain Black became Brother Black, the newest monk in the monetary. From that day forward, there were two monks on the beach offering food, friendship and the gospel to the dark pirates and many “low lives” came to know Christ because of Brother Black and Brother Andrew. But never again did the notorious pirate Captain Black sail the seas for that was the end of the Prince of Thieves.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. [Romans 5:6-8]