See the good that comes from building bridges, not fences

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There once was a carpenter who visited one of two brothers who had recently grown resentful with each other over a misunderstanding over the farm they had managed together for the past 40 years.

The carpenter was in need of work, and he asked the one brother if there was anything he might do to help him out.
“Yes,” said the older brother. “I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That’s my neighbor. In fact, it’s my younger brother! Last week there was a meadow between us. He recently took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I’ll do him one better. See that pile of lumber by the barn? I want you to build me a fence, an 8-foot fence — so I won’t need to see his place or his face anymore.”

The carpenter said, “I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post-hole digger and I’ll be able to do a job that pleases you.”

The older brother had to go to town, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day. The carpenter worked hard all that day — measuring, sawing and nailing.

About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job. The farmer’s eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. There wasn’t a fence there at all. The carpenter had built a bridge — a bridge that stretched from one side of the creek to the other. And the neighbor, his younger brother, was coming toward them, hand outstretched, meeting them in the middle, “You are quite a fellow, you know; to build this bridge after all I’ve said and done.” Then hoisting his toolbox onto his shoulder the carpenter departed. “I’d love to stay, but I have many more bridges to build,” he said.

Maybe you’re like the older brother who wanted to build a fence, but instead a bridge was built. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the best carpenter around, constructs bridges, not fences. It says in the Bible that Jesus “…has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.” (Ephesians 2:14 - NIV) Jesus constructed that bridge between us and God when he went to the cross to die for our sins, so we could have a relationship with God.

He is also in the bridge building business in regards to relationships with people. We are encouraged to “…forgive anyone who offends you.”(Colossians 3:13 –NLT) Jesus will build bridges between us and others we have differences with no matter the span of distance He can do it. Do we want a bridge built, or a fence? I hope and pray you will choose the bridge. His nail scarred hands will lovingly construct it one board at a time.

If you do not have a church home, we invite you to join us at Ghent Baptist Church. Bible study starts at 9:45 a.m. Our worship service starts at 10:50 a.m. We also have a Wednesday night service called Oasis at 7 p.m. This is a contemporary service open to all people. May God’s richest blessings be yours this week. Love God and love people.


Brother Graham Reynolds is pastor of Ghent Baptist Church in Ghent, Ky.