The creator of Gilligan’s Island, years after the end of the show, said that he had made the characters analogies of the seven deadly sins:
- The Professor – Pride
- Thurston Howell III – Greed
- Ginger – Lust
- Mary Ann – Envy (of Ginger’s looks)
- Mrs. Lovey Howell – Gluttony
- The Skipper – Anger or wrath
- Gilligan – Sloth
Of course, these are pretty easy to spot and, we might think, avoid, not trusting so much on the grace of our Lord, but on ourselves, because, you know, we’re so clever at seeing these obnoxious things at the ready (or at least we should), right?
And what happens then, with all this trusting in ourselves? Well, we fall a little bit here and a little bit there, not so much, perhaps, but enough to get frustrated, for if we depend on ourselves, we cannot avoid falling. But it doesn’t strike us that we are trusting in ourselves so much because the seven deadly sins are so obvious that, well, that we don’t have to turn to God to avoid them, right? And so it goes, falling a little bit here and there. And then, discouragement, depression, despair… Crash!
With that in mind, let’s review a very short piece of prose that was sent in by a Western North Carolinian. It was first published when the Titanic first sailed (by the way):
This story comes from a research conducted on Ruth Coleman, formerly of College Walk in Brevard, North Carolina. Ruth was a resident there for quite some time. She was highly respected, admired, and adored by her close friends. She also was a published author back in the 70’s and 80’s, in the publication known today as Guideposts, a faith based publication. Guideposts is still published and appreciated by many devoted readers and subscribers.
The Devil’s Auction was originally written by Mr. Roedel Rathvon about 1911. Copyrighted in 1912, the story was published in Guideposts Magazine in 1952.
The Devil’s Auction by Roedel Rathvon
It was once announced that the devil was going out of business and would offer his tools to anyone who would pay his price. On the night of the auction they were all attractively displayed, and a bad looking lot they were. Malice, envy, hatred, jealousy, sensuality, deceit, and all the other implements of evil were laid out, each marked with its price. Apart from the rest was a harmless looking wedge-shaped tool, much worn and priced much higher than the others.
Someone asked the devil what it was. “That’s discouragement” was his reply. “Well, why do you have it priced so high?” “Because,” replied the devil, “it is more useful to me than any other tool. I can pry open and get inside a man’s consciousness with that when I couldn’t get near him with any other tool, and when once inside I can use him in whatever way suits me best. It is so much worn because I use it with nearly everyone; as very few people yet know that it belongs go me.” “You say you use this wedge of discouragement with nearly everyone-with whom can’t you use it?” The devil hesitated a long time and finally said in a low voice, “I can’t use it in getting into the consciousness of a grateful man.”
It hardly need be added that the devil’s price for discouragement was so high that it was never sold. He still owns it and he still uses it!
Of course, Satan is the father of lies. He can’t sell us our sin or weaknesses because those are the only things that we can honestly say are our own!
At any rate, Jesus transforms all these weaknesses into the cross which He commands us to recognize and carry, not looking at them, but looking to Him, following Him. We know with ease just how weak we are because of how he has invited us, drawn us, to His good friendship, to the redemption and salvation He enthusiastically provides.
All the justice, all the mercy, all the goodness and kindness. Nothing is overlooked. Our Lord is just so very majestic in His resurrection, bearing those wounds on His risen body, wounds which are not an incrimination but an invitation to know Him, love Him, adore Him, glorify Him, actively, unapologetically believe in Him. He provides the wherewithal, His grace, His life within us. He is just that good, just that kind.