Faulty Fuel

Posted: May 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

Have you ever done something that you swear to never tell anyone? I mean done something so bone headed that you vow to carry the secret to your grave? I made one of those vows during our initial move to Avon Park. And in relating my personal life stories to the word of God, the good Lord laid it on my heart that this was one little secret that could be used and redeemed in relating His word to those who may read my posts. So with a reluctant but obedient heart, I now share from my own personal, secret library of blooper moments…..”Charlie Parish Boneheaded Move #348,908,990.

We had just accepted the job offer here in Avon Park for me to be the Associate Pastor of Youth and Families. We had just flown back from Panama and literally had all of our stuff scattered amongst family here in the States. So we rented a U Haul truck and packed it full, and we drove our family ten hours to our new home in Avon Park.

This U Haul truck was a big one. Before leaving on our road trip, the manager at the U Haul company went over a list of rules pertaining to the truck. And wanting to get it right, I did pay close attention.

Make wide turns as to not hit the curb….Check!

Dont drive it too fast and always keep control….Check!

Put on the brakes a good ways out before stopping….Check!

If I get pulled over, my paperwork is in the glove compartment….Check!

It seemed like there would be nothing to this. Driving a big truck was almost like an adventure to me. I was excited. With my blue jeans, t-shirt, beat up hat, and face full of whiskers, I looked the part of an extra in the movie, “Smokey and the Bandit.” I was following behind Lacy and the boys as she drove our van ahead of me. And we hit the road early in the morning hoping to get to our destination before nightfall.

The trip was going fine for the first few hours. No problems at all. We were getting low on gas so we all pulled over into a gas station. Lacy grabbed snacks for the kids and we filled up the van and truck. After grabbing a bag of beef jerky (real truckers keep a stock of the stuff) and a kiss from my wife, we hit the road again.  We road for about two more hours and suddenly, the truck started acting weird. I kept a steady speed of 60 mph when all the sudden the truck would slow down on its own and then slowly climb back to 60 mph. Then when it reached 60 mph it would lose speed down to about 30 mph and then speed back up to 60 mph.

I knew something wasnt right. With Lacy driving in front, I decided to blow my horn at her to get her attention and tell her to pull over. I hit the horn and nothing happened. The manager for U Haul didnt mention that the horn didnt work. The truck began to slow down to a crawl and I couldnt pick up speed at all. And judging from my gas needle, I still was over half a tank full. I was pounding on a horn that didnt work trying to get my wifes attention. She happened to look back at I motioned with my hand for her to pull off at a truck stop.

We got out and parked as I popped the engine hood. No smoke or anything unusual. Everything looked normal. I jumped back in the cab of the truck and started it up, but only to sputters. It wouldnt even crank now. And it had plenty of gas! I didnt understand it! After thirty minutes of trying to figure out the problem with no luck, I called Triple A roadside service. They arrived about twenty minutes later. The AAA engineer went over all the standard engine checks and everything appeared in order. Then he asked about the gas. I told him I had over half a tank.

He said, “Did you put diesel fuel in the tank?”

“Of course not!!” I said. “Im not a mechanic, but I know enough not to put diesel fuel in a U Haul!”

And that revealed the whole problem. “Sir…this truck runs on diesel fuel.” The mechanic replied.

I felt like a moron. The mechanic said that the truck would run for a short time on regular gas, but if it wasnt given the proper fuel that it’s engine was made for, eventually it would fall apart. It turned out that it wasnt totally my fault. I asked him how I was suppose to know my truck ran on diesel fuel. The mechanic told me I should have been told by the manager, which I was not. And there was suppose to be a sticker above the fuel tank that indicated it ran on diesel, but we saw that the sticker had been ripped off.

Long story short, the mechanic got me enough diesel fuel pumped into my truck to get me to a gas station. Luckily, no permanent damage had been done to the engine as we had stopped at just the right time. You can be sure that if I ever drive a U Haul again, the first question Ill ask is the type of fuel it runs on. Take it from me, a diesel truck will NOT run very long off of regular gasoline!

1 John 4:7 says  “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.”

Similar to automobile fuel, a relationship can only run a short time on worldly love.  God made us to require a special kind of love….His love. So we know from the above verse that love…REAL LOVE…is from God. And you cannot experience real love unless you know Christ in a personal relationship. Im not saying you can’t know a type of love, its just not the love you and I were made for. Look at marriage today. One of the main excuses for a marriage falling apart is one of the spouses saying, “We just fell out of love.”

When I pulled over at that truck station and my U Haul had all but died, my first thought was, “I just ran out of gas.” But that wasnt true. My gas needle still registered half a tank. I still had gas, but I had the wrong kind. In the same way, no one just falls out of love. But God created love. And through Christ and the Holy Spirit in us, we are filled with Gods love. His love doesnt die, and it doesnt run empty. Why is it that the word of God teaches so much on the subject of love? Because it is the single most important element in any human relationship.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:36-39.

So many marriages start off with no problems in sight. They may have even heard the pastor who married them talk about loving each other in all circumstances, for better and worse. But where many pastors fail in preparing couples for marriage is that they tell them love is what makes the marriage run, but they neglect to tell them what type of love. Because of this, many marriages start off into the first few years of the marriage running off of emotion, butterflies, and our humanistic type of love.

The only problem with the world’s type of love is it is not eternal. And it is based more on feelings than truth. God showed us that real love has nothing to do with feelings. Real love is a decision in which action follows. Case in point….do you actually believe that Jesus Christ “FELT” like dying for our sins? Do you think he felt like being tortured for a people who mocked and spat at him? Of course not! Yet he made the decision to give his life in exchange for ours! And with this sacrifice, he gave the example to the world and every generation to ever come what real love is like. Its not based on receiving. Its based on serving. As a wise bumper sticker once stated….


There are two types of ways love is classified on our planet. The first is unconditional love or Gods love. In this love, there is nothing so terrible that cannot be forgiven. This love comes not from our own human heart, but from God himself. And to receive this love in us, all we must do is have that personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Not just a knowledge of him, but a deep, personal relationship where he is first in our lives. This love is eternal. And it is described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Did you catch the last description of love in that verse….”LOVE NEVER FAILS.” If God says that love never fails, then why do so many relationships end with broken hearts? It this is true, and the word of God is true, what does that tell us about a marriage that crumbles? It was destined to break down from the beginning, because it wasnt filled with the right kind of love. It void of God’s love.

You see, God teaches us so much in scripture about love, because he knew how humanity would pervert its true meaning. The second kind of love we see in our world is a love void of God. It is conditional as long as we are still “happy.” It is non sacrificial and has the individuals more concerned with having their own needs satisfied than becoming a servant to their spouse. And contrary to Gods love, this worldly love will always fail. Yet this is the type of love that most relationships are built upon in todays world. People look to Oprah, Dr. Phil, even their friends for relationship advice. When all along, Jesus is the only one who has the answer.

Many relationships that begin to crumble do not end in divorce. They just live a miserable existance and tolerate each other.  Sometimes that lack of Godly love is evident in a marriage where the husband and wife have little to no communication with one another. Its apparent in a marriage where one or both spouses are more hung up on how the other person hurt them and their feelings rather than having a forgiving heart and choosing to persevere and build back stronger than before by placing their focus on Christ before each other. These types of marriages will have the husband or wives cast stones saying, “If you only knew what he or she has done to me!” But if Jesus Christ can heal the sick, give sight to the blind, raise the dead, and still love a sinner like me who nailed him to a cross, then I truly believe there is no relationship crisis so big that HE cannot fill with unconditional love.

You may have done all the engine checks on your marriage and even filled the love meter with affection and words of affirmation. But if you have not been filled yourself with the love of God, the you dont have that love to give to your spouse. If you dont have a relationship with the one who gives unconditional love, then how can you know or even possess unconditional love? Without Christ, we are all self centered an incapable of putting anyone or anything above our own fleshly desires. We are running on a fuel that will slowly corrupt us from the inside out.

I am no marriage counciler and do not claim to be. Ive never written a best selling book on “Ten Steps to a Better Relationship.” But I do know the word of God. And I believe that every word of it is truth. And straying from that truth will only cause destruction.

Tap into the love of God before you run dry. Read your Bible. Go to church. Pray for your spouse. But most importantly, ask that Jesus transform you. So many people pray that God would change their spouse. Pray for God to change you. Pray for him to make you more like Christ, and to fill you with HIS love. Men lead your family with family bible studies at night in your homes. Teach your wife and kids the love of God. Be men and lead. Women support your husbands. Put Christ first in your life and put your kids third behind your husband. Laugh together. Cry together. Experience life together. Worship together. And pray together. Dont settle for a love that you were never designed for. Human relationships were designed by God to run off of a supernatural type of love not found on earth. It’s a love that can weather any storm in this journey we call life. Buckle up and safe travels.

  1. Becky says:

    Hi Charlie & Lacy,

    As I was reading this, the Lord laid upon my heart a situation that I may be facing…I’m playing in a golf tournament on Wednesday and will be in a group of ladies of which one of them I know has some real problems. Nobody wants to play with her because of her attitude and behavior and makes playing with her almost unbearable. I’m sensing she needs the Lord in her life, but what ever her need, please pray with me that I can be used of God to minister to her. Evidently, the Lord wants you to be a part of this, since this burden was given to me while reading this article. Thanks for sharing your heart….I’m always blessed by what you write!

    Excited to see how God will show himself…..


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