The Move From Hell

I missed my last blog deadline because my lovely Bride and I decided to downsize. Actually, I missed the last two (but who’s counting?). Last weekend, we moved to our new home, which is 700 square feet smaller than our recent one. It turned out to be the move from hell.

I call it the move from hell for several reasons. The movers we hired arrived promptly on Saturday morning with a rather sizeable truck and began to load our worldly possessions. Lo and behold, one truckload wouldn’t do it. They delivered that first load and placed it into our new abode. By the time that was done, I had had enough. Nevertheless, we all went back for a second load.

A deluge of rain descended upon us as we tackled the second delivery. To make matters worse, we began to realize that a second shipment wasn’t going to do it either. Thank goodness we were only moving a half hour away. As I assessed the situation, I asked my hired guns to get all the “big stuff,” and I’d deal with the “small stuff” on my own. Ugh!

Our Big Mistake

Our big mistake was the downsizing part. We successfully downsized our dwelling but were abysmally unsuccessful in downsizing our possessions. Oh the humanity. The normal move has boxes everywhere, but this one is ridiculous.

There’s an old saying that indicates, “Life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” In fact, Jesus is the one who said that (Luke 12:15). I try to live by his words, but, apparently, I didn’t take this one seriously enough.

Allow me to give you a couple examples. As I unpacked (a process that’s still taking place), I discovered that we own a box of Koozies. I’m willing to bet a lot of you don’t even know what a Koozie is. I don’t think I’ve ever even used one, but I have a whole box of them.

Another example of our failure to downsize properly is our TV situation. We gave one away, and we still have an extra one. Frankly, it’s a tad embarrassing. STUFF! We have way too much STUFF!

Joy of I’ve made several trips to the old house to retrieve some of the “small stuff” the movers left behind. At the ripe old age of sixty-seven, this small stuff isn’t so small anymore. I have confirmed in my own mind that small is definitely a relative term. I feel like the moving van hit me. By my calculations, I have one more trip to make (joy of joys).

I’m sure my lovely Bride and I will be happy in our new home, but true happiness will elude our grasp until we can unload about a third of our possessions. If Jesus is right (and I’m sure he is), we won’t even miss them. Besides that, we just don’t have a place to put it all.

By the way–can any of you use some free, empty boxes? My garage is full of them.

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently pastor of Smith Chapel in Great Falls, VA.]

You’re Not Right!

There’s a phrase that seems to be popping up a lot the past few years. That phrase is, “You’re not right.” When spoken with the right tone of voice, the cynic can pull this off quite well. Since I’m writing this (rather than speaking it), I can’t make you hear it correctly. So let me just say, “You’re not right” is akin to the old, “You’re not all there.” Most of us are quite familiar with that one.

This is a very convenient barb. It’s short, to the point, and quite cutting. Anyone with the correct voice inflection can stop you in your tracks with it. I, myself, haven’t attempted it, but I keep thinking I need to try. I just can’t seem to remember to use it when the moment is ripe. Maybe, one of these days…

“No one is good…”

For some reason, this phrase reminds me of the time Jesus told someone, “No one is good—except God alone.” (Luke 18:18-19) A religious leader of his day had approached him and asked a question. In doing so, he addressed Jesus as “good teacher.” Before he answered the man’s query, Jesus made it a point to announce that only God is good—no one else.

This would have been a good time for Jesus to say, “You’re not right.” I’m guessing the phrase was not in vogue at that time, so Jesus went a slightly different direction. I think (if I was writing the ZIV—Zuchelli International Version of the Bible) I would insert that phrase—at least in the footnotes if not in the text proper. I’m pretty sure that’s what Jesus meant.

The reason for my assuredness on this is the fact that none of us are right—particularly in comparison with God. We’re all a bit off. In fact, most of us are off by a few thousand miles (if we can put it in terms of physical distance). We just can’t seem to get it together. Not only are we “not right,” we’re not even close.

We’re Good at Fooling Ourselves

A lot of us try to fool ourselves into thinking we’re okay. In fact, many of us surmise that we’re more than okay—we’re pretty good. In reality, the only thing we’re pretty good at is fooling ourselves. The Bible has a lot to say about fools (i.e., Proverbs 15:7). Suffice it to say, it’s much better not to be one.

Recognizing that fact just might be the first step in getting it right (or at least, closer to right). That move is usually referred to as humility. It is the wise person who recognizes the fact that they’re not right. We are less than we need to be, and there is only one person who can fill in the void created by our lack of righteousness.

From my perspective, that one person is Jesus. He’s the only one who can fill the gap between not being right and becoming right in God’s eyes. We’ll never be right without him (John 3:16-21).

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently pastor of Smith Chapel in Great Falls, VA.]