Tuesday, April 14, 2015
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Let's see, there was Gilligan, the Skipper, too, the movie star, the millionaire and his wife. You know, it was the cast of that eternally rerunning sitcom, Gilligan's Island. Maybe you remember the story. They boarded the S.S. Minnow that day to take a what? (I want to sing it so bad!) A "Three hour tour." Little did they know a storm would come up and they'd end up shipwrecked on some desert island, and they'd have to stay there trapped forever in rerun-land. When they boarded that day, they had no idea how far they were going to go or how long they were going to stay. Some three-hour tour!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Gilligan Zone - The Choices We Regret."
Gilligan's Island was, of course, just a TV show. But three-hour tours that take you too far and keep you too long are very much real life. Just ask a man named Esau.
His story is in our word for today from the Word of God in Genesis 25, beginning at verse 31. He's the older brother in the family, which means in a Jewish family of that day he had the birthright. He would someday inherit the family leadership and a double portion of the inheritance, and a lot of wonderful privileges. One day he's coming in from hunting and he's really hungry, and his more domestic brother is cooking up his specialty, Stew Ala Jacob. Esau says, "Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I'm famished!" (That's the Bible's words.) "Jacob replied,' First sell me your birthright.' ‘Look, I am about to die,' Esau said. ‘What good is the birthright to me?'"
Right now I'm like wanting to yell at the Bible, yell at Esau, "Don't do this, man! Deal or No Deal? No Deal! It's a lousy trade!" Esau can't hear me anyway. The Bible goes on, "He swore to Jacob, selling him his birthright - he ate and drank, and then got up and left." Esau felt better, for a few hours. But because of that choice, he felt miserable for the rest of his life.
There is a tragic "P.S." to Esau's life in the New Testament in Hebrews 12:15. It says, "Esau sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son for a single meal. Afterward, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears." With one short-sighted decision, Esau entered what I call the Gilligan Zone. You decide to do something that will feel good for a while, thinking it will only be a three-hour tour. But you end up in the Gilligan Zone, farther than you ever wanted to go, staying longer than you ever wanted to stay. And for you, that may be no TV plot. It's happened to you. It all starts when we do an Esau. We do something because it will get us through the moment. It will meet a need for us for now, only to hurt for years to come.
That's the ugly secret about sin. It looks like it will get us through something. It will benefit us in some way, and like Esau, maybe our bad choices do give us some short-term benefit. That deceit, that giving in to the pressure, that compromise of your integrity, that drink, that sexual sin, or cutting corners to get ahead or get accepted. Something appears in front of you that looks like it might meet a need, it might relieve the pain or help you get ahead. And you only mean for it to be just a little while, maybe just this once. Right? Just a three-hour tour.
But sin does not let you go once you let it out of the box. It will take you farther, it will keep you longer than you ever bargained for. Thus bringing out the truth of James 1:15, "After desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death."
Too many people never make it back from sin's three-hour tour. In the power of Jesus the Savior, you can run from that sin, you can run from that compromise that looks so good but will cost you so much. A moment of relief is not worth a lifetime of regret.