The TV Stand: A 21st Century War Story

Today I have the honor of having Moe Vivas guest post on Abraham Chronicles. I’ve gotten to know Moe over the last few months through the interwebs, and I can say with certainty that he is on my “have a cup of coffee with before I die list”. Moe blogs and tweets like a professional (yes, a professional tweeter). He’s an Apple fanboy, loves his family, and has quite a way with making you laugh with the written word. Be sure to show him some love in the comments!

I never really understood how difficult it was to build furniture. When you see it on display in the store, you think “that looks easy”. But that’s not always true. A few years ago, I purchased a TV stand. What I didn’t know was how difficult it was to build something that looked so simple.

From the time I could stand, I was baptized in the fire of combat. I was taught never to retreat, never to surrender. I had learned that death on the battlefield was the greatest glory I could achieve in my life. I was taught to show no pain, no mercy. I was constantly tested, tossed into tough situations. Left to pit my wits and will against any enemy, be it toys, animals, or in this case…a TV stand.

I opened the box and sorted out the materials. I begin picking up pieces and adding a screw here and there. I moved carefully around its sharp edges to avoid any injuries. Too late, one of my hands was scratched with a screw. “Battle scars” I whisper to myself. No good war is ever fought without scars.

My eyes are focused as the small furniture begins bearing shape. Don’t let progress fool you; it still had fight in it. It begins to get wobbly. I take a few steps back and drops of sweat begin to fall from my brow. My hands are steady, swinging the wrench from one hand to the other, slowly striking when I see an opening. It begins to submit to me, It forms… It’s done. It’s perfect!

I raise my weary arms in victory and manage to find enough strength to yell out, “It is finished!”

I get some Iced tea and being to stare down my beaten opponent. Then I begin to see an unfamiliar sight. One of the wooden pieces was screwed with the unfinished side of the wood towards the front.

“It is mocking me”, I said to myself.

I tried to loosen a screw here and there and turn the piece around, but I wasn’t successful. I had to take it all apart and start the war again. All because I didn’t read the manual. It took me another 2 hours to put it together right the second time around.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

We make a mess out of things because we often forget to go to the manual. God’s word is our manual. With it, we are complete. Without it, we are like a fine piece of furniture with the unfinished side to the front.

What part of you is showing its unfinished side?

What is the manual (God’s word) telling you to do today?

70 Comments

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  • Jim F

    April 18, 2011

    Must not have been from IKEA because that stuff takes longer than 2 hours to put together – although I know can speak some Swedish which is an upside.

    The Manuel (the Bible) tells me much such as share His love, share His Word, and live by the principles in the Manuel.

    I got many rough edges and that is why I need other Iron to knock those rough edges off.

    Good thoughts Moe!

    Reply
    • Moe

      April 18, 2011

      IKEA is the devil’s store to keep the saved from spending time in prayer and more time using words that are not found in the dictionary. :)

      Reply
  • Michael

    April 18, 2011

    Stout stuff man. Many do forget about the manual. They will base everything off of “feeling.” When it should be confirmed in the Word and prayer.

    Reply
    • Moe

      April 18, 2011

      Emotional Christianity. It’s like Mere Christianity except… emotional. LOL

      Reply
  • Jessica

    April 18, 2011

    My Husband is STILL proud of putting our tv stand together nearly 10 years ago!

    And, to the more serious questions: I don’t know. Sigh.

    Reply
    • Moe

      April 18, 2011

      Yeah, those things are challenging. I put those things on my resume. Anybody that can build furniture has great working skills.

      As for the serious questions.. you do know, just don’t want to share. :)

      Reply
      • Jessica

        April 18, 2011

        I’m a TERRIBLE serious post commenter. :)

        Reply
        • moe

          April 18, 2011

          So keep it light. I’m always up for a good laugh… or two… or 30. I’m 12!

          Reply
  • Ben

    April 18, 2011

    The left side.

    God’s word is telling me to be patient, and to continue to stay faithful. It’s telling me that certain people have different gifts for different capacities, but it’s yet to tell me (clearly) what my gift is, and in what capacity.

    Either that, or I just don’t listen. Both of which are highly probable.

    Reply
    • Moe

      April 18, 2011

      I hear you Ben. But I must say, you have a pretty nice “unfinished” side. LOL. :)

      God will one day hit you with a one-two combination of gifts and capacities that you will skip everywhere you go… while chewing gum of course.

      Reply
  • ThatGuyKC

    April 18, 2011

    This was epic! I love stories like this because I have lived them.

    I once assembled a futon by myself and it took me 6 hours.

    Reply
    • Moe

      April 18, 2011

      Yikes… 6 hours? I hope you took breaks in between because that would have pissed me off.

      Reply
    • Dustin

      April 18, 2011

      KC, I can relate. 6 hours is rough. :)

      Reply
  • Adam

    April 18, 2011

    Good words Moe. When I try to do everything myself I tend to screw up more and get frustrated easily. I try to stay in the Word and in prayer to keep me focused on living the way Christ lived and God instructed. Cannot be done to that extent, but i find when I try life is much better as a result.

    Reply
    • Moe

      April 18, 2011

      Life is certainly better living under His manual. Without it, we make messy stuff. I know, I’ve been there! :/

      Reply
  • Duane Scott

    April 18, 2011

    “It is mocking me.”

    LOL.

    Seriously though, thankyou for being my manuel today.

    –DS

    Reply
  • kristinherdy

    April 18, 2011

    As a willing and able “follower of directions,” I am eminently qualified to put together furniture. That’s my job in the family, following Swedish directions and poor pictoral representations to assemble a cabinet or computer desk.

    That same skill does NOT always transfer to spiritual things, because I have a screw loose.

    Reply
    • Moe

      April 18, 2011

      In that case you are my hero. I dig a lady who can build stuff. As for spiritual things, I think I found your screw. I think.

      Reply
  • Dustin

    April 18, 2011

    Moe, first off – thanks for the guest post. Love it!

    Funny enough, I had this exact same experience about 6 weeks ago. We bought a dresser at IKEA (wife was nesting, so we re-did our bedroom) and I decided to start working on putting it together at 10:30 at night. Bad idea.

    4 hours later I was finally finished.

    That includes the exact same mistake… the flipped unfinished board at bottom of the dresser. I was so mad. LOL.

    Reply
    • Moe

      April 18, 2011

      Dude, thanks for this opportunity man. I really appreciate it.

      As for your dresser? 4 hours? Yikes. Get used to that. Little furniture for the girls is sure going to boost your building self esteem. Or make you crazy. One or the other. :)

      that unfinished side. You should have spray painted that sucker. Or put a sticker there.

      Reply
  • John

    April 18, 2011

    Oh man I see many unfinished sides of myself sometimes. And the Manual helps to bring those into the light so that I can figure out how to correct them.

    I did this same thing with a book shelf a few years ago, except when I got done and realized the shelves were put in backwards, with the unfinished side to the front, I didn’t try to do it all over again. It’s still like that to this day. Gives it character, I say…

    Reply
    • Moe

      April 18, 2011

      LOL. You are nuts John. Just left it like that? You have style my friend. :)

      As for your unfinished side. You wear it well, don’t worry, we all have one.

      Reply
    • Dustin

      April 18, 2011

      >>>”Gives it character…”

      Like that John. Well done!

      Reply
  • Ryan Tate

    April 18, 2011

    I have lived this battle as well. My worst enemy was also the TV stand – that thing is a beast. I’m certain it could withstand small artillery fire.

    I have to remind myself daily that apart from Him I can do nothing. I need to have an encounter with the face of God before I attemp to have any other encounters in my day. Great post.

    Reply
    • Moe

      April 18, 2011

      TV stands are horrible. Looks so simple, yet so hard.

      Keep having those encounters my friend. They keep us going.

      Reply
      • Mvivas

        April 18, 2011

        Yes Randy! We have to flaunt our battle scars. They speak of our victories in the face of threatening… furniture! :)

        The map. I like that term. Without it we would be so lost.

        Reply
  • Jason Vana

    April 18, 2011

    Ah yes, the wonderful battle between man and put-together furniture. I have quite a few battle scars from the furniture I’ve put together over the years.

    I didn’t notice that I put the back on incorrectly to my current TV stand until a few weeks after I finished. I have yet to fix it.

    Reply
    • Moe

      April 18, 2011

      Those scars speak of our victories!!!! or our lack of building the furniture the right way. One or the other. :)

      Why fix it? Put a Hello Kitty sticker there and laugh at it.

      Reply
  • kevin

    April 18, 2011

    Nice. Moe V bringin the heat! Solid stuff my friend.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      April 18, 2011

      EN FUEGO!

      Reply
      • Moe

        April 18, 2011

        Fuego is what will be awaiting you in your daughter’s diaper later tonight. LOL

        Reply
        • Dustin

          April 18, 2011

          Touché. She does have plenty of atomic farts.

          Reply
    • Moe

      April 18, 2011

      Thanks Kevin. Not sure it’s “heat” but it’s something. :)

      Reply
  • Jon

    April 18, 2011

    Great post bro! It’s funny how the little things teach us a whole lot! I think for me, His word is telling to be a disciple for Christ. I think that word gets tossed around a lot, and He’s just been impressing that on me.

    Reply
    • Moe

      April 18, 2011

      Yup. That word gets tossed like hot potato, everyone hears it and keeps passing it around, but nobody wants to get “burned” with it. Ouch!

      Reply
  • Joseph

    April 18, 2011

    Great post Moe. God’s been telling me lately you can’t do it all by yourself. You can try but you wont get very far. Trust in me and you will get where you need to be. This is something I’ve been reminded of lately. A scripture that has really stood out to me lately is Proverbs 16:3 ” Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”

    Reply
    • Moe

      April 18, 2011

      Great verse! Thanks for sharing Joseph.

      Reply
  • Donald Borsch Jr

    April 18, 2011

    What part of you is showing its unfinished side?

    What is the manual (God’s word) telling you to do today?
    —————————-

    1. All of me, unfortunately.

    2. Walk like the son He has made me to be.

    ps: “It is mocking me”, I said to myself.
    LOL! I have uttered these words not too few times when seeking to conquer “easy-to-assemble” furniture.

    Reply
    • Moe

      April 18, 2011

      Easy to assemble furniture? That’s an oxymoron. No way ANY furniture is easy to assemble.

      Reply
  • Randy

    April 18, 2011

    Oh yes! That late-night war has been waged on my battle front often. Like you, though, I’ve never admitted defeat. It looked daunting a few times, but victory was mine!!…battle scars and all. :-)

    Spiritually speaking, well said. We can’t manage the life journey without the map…put it together without the instruction manual. In spite of the fact that I read and re-read the directions, I’m afraid I still have a few unfinished sides showing…a work in progress.

    Thanks for the reminder of where to look for the instructions.

    Reply
    • Moe

      April 18, 2011

      I totally replied with the wrong credentials. :(

      We have to flaunt our battle scars. They speak of our victories over our fierce opponents, the furniture!

      I like that you used the word “map”. Without it we all would be lost!

      Reply
      • Randy

        April 18, 2011

        :-) No problem…I got it both times in email! At least you’re consistent! :-D

        Reply
  • Michelle

    April 18, 2011

    Moe – how do you discipline yourself enough to read the Bible everyday? I’m having such a hard time with it. Then I feel like a failure and then start that roller coaster of works garbage again. How can I really enjoy picking up the manual? I just lack the passion to read it and I know its good for me, but its not always fun. It’s like a chore. How to I get there?

    On another note, my husband before his college was over had a job putting together office furniture for office max. He did this all day long. So whenever we have stuff like that to put together, I get him. He’s a pro now. I’m sure he’d hate that I said that since he HATED that job, but he is.

    Reply
    • Moe

      April 18, 2011

      Wow! If I were a girl I would totally fall in love with him based on that alone. :)

      Like all things, it’s a discipline. I always learned to never to approach God’s word without expecting to not hear from God. I would recommend you start slow and easy. It’s not so much about “reading” then it is about listening. if I read the Bible like a book, it will be just that. But when I approach it as a way to listen to God, there’s more to it than just a “book”.

      Start with the Gospels and take LOTS of notes. Write Questions, curiosities and go over those notes and pray that God will help you understand.

      Start with 3 verses and meditate through them throughout the day. It takes time but it’s such a great way to getting to know God.

      Reply
      • Joseph

        April 18, 2011

        Michele, I just wanted to echo what Moe said. Start with the Gospels. Read through them and focus on Jesus’ words and time here on earth. I use to struggle with the same thing. After reading and really focusing on what Jesus did I wanted to know more. And the only way to know more is to read. I think we all struggle with this. You just have to push through.

        Reply
  • Sean Sabourin

    April 19, 2011

    Well done Moe! Great stuff! Psalm 46 is the where I am at in the manual right now. Verse 1 is key to me. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • moe

      April 19, 2011

      Thanks Sean. Great Psalm, great verse. A ever present help in time of trouble indeed!

      Reply
  • mo

    April 19, 2011

    Great post! My time and availability are unfinished spots. I know I do too much, and not always the most efficiently. I need to be more available for Jesus.

    Lol…I actually build furniture. Or, at least have started to: http://www.mohan37.com/?p=4694

    Reply
    • Moe

      April 19, 2011

      Time management is a science… which we all fail at so often. Keep working at it Mo.

      Oh wow, you are one of those huh? So you think you are more spiritual than all of us, because you have a little “carpentry” background, like Jesus?

      Reply
      • mo

        April 20, 2011

        heck yeah!

        Reply
    • Dustin

      April 19, 2011

      dude, that changing table is amazing. the best i can do is saw a 4×4 in half…

      Reply
      • mo

        April 20, 2011

        I bet you saw the best 2×4’s on the block, man :)

        Reply
  • Tom Raines

    April 19, 2011

    Good stuff! My daughter’s bedrooum suit came from IKillea. Glad to know those words that weren’t in the dictionary were swedish!!
    I am pretty good at hiding the unfinished sides but looking at the bookshelf in front of me that I put together 25 years ago the imitation boards are warping abit. Can’t hide the poor quality even if the finished side is showing…ouch, I am certainly warped and sagging a bit…

    Reply
    • Moe

      April 19, 2011

      Hiding the unfinished side. That’s modern day camouflage right there! :)

      Warping and sagging, but still built to last!

      Reply
  • Adam

    April 19, 2011

    Wow Moe.. Great post. If you wrote a book I could read it from cover to cover. I really dig your writing style.

    My unfinished side was just selfishness… well still is to this day. Sometimes its so easy to think of ME first. I am in a work in progress to be more OTHERS minded and strip away the selfishness that lies in my heart. But it is a daily process that I have to deal with and make that choice to put others first.

    good stuff man

    Reply
    • moe

      April 19, 2011

      If I wrote a book I would be on the worse sellers list. Even my children would pay to get rid of it. :)

      Thanks Adam.

      As for unfinished sides… well, I have so many, that the only thing that is weird is my “finished” side. Yeah, that stinks. Oh, and I struggle with selfishness myself. I can tell you do too, since you tweet to yourself. :)~

      Reply
  • seekingpastor

    April 19, 2011

    Stick with it, persevere–stuff like that. Seems these have been on a continual loop inside of my heart lately.

    Reply
    • moe

      April 20, 2011

      Yes! This is not a story about those who start, but those who finish. Good word here Matt!

      Reply
  • Meg

    April 20, 2011

    Thanks for the recent comment Dustin! Really glad you stopped by.

    I love this post because it’s so amazing how something so everyday, like putting a piece of furniture together, can reveal something about our spiritual walk. Lately I’m finding all kinds of inspiration in “ordinary” things. Thanks for the reminder that we need to look to that manual for answers.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      April 20, 2011

      absolutely, thanks for counter-stopping by as well! it is always neat to see God in the everyday because i think so often we fail to just stop and notice that He is there!

      Reply
  • Justin

    April 20, 2011

    Great post, my man!

    There is always a connection between my feelings of worthlessness and the lack of burying my head in the book. Always.

    Reply
    • moe

      April 20, 2011

      Worthlessness? Not you my friend. You are more than you think. A lot more. To God and to us brothers. Keep burying your head in the Book.

      Reply
  • Bryan Thompson

    April 21, 2011

    Dustin, Moe is indeed the guy I want to have coffee with before I die!

    Moe, You’ve been to IKEA!! I am SO BAD at building things myself! My wife bought us a grill recently just for me (she’s a vegetarian). And I was so mad at having to put it together. I got 3/4ths of the way through it when I noticed a message on the box – “includes free assembly”

    Nuts.

    Reply
    • Moe

      April 21, 2011

      LOL. That is nuts man.

      As for your wife being a vegetarian. That’s interesting. Does the smell of dead flesh in the grill disgusts her? I always wondered about that.

      Thanks Bryan. One day bro, we will have coffee, even if it’s in heaven. :)

      Reply
    • Dustin

      April 21, 2011

      LOL, Bryan that is hilarious.

      Reply
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