The Bridge Builder

“The Bridge Builder” taken from House to House, Heart to Heart

Two brothers lived on adjoining farms and fell into conflict.  It was the first serious rift in forty years of farming side by side, sharing machinery, and trading labor and goods as needed without a hitch.

The long collaboration fell apart.  It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference.  Finally it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.

One morning there was a knock on the older brother’s door.  He opened it to find a man with a carpenter’s toolbox.  “I’m looking for a few days work” he said.  “Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there I could help with?”

“Yes, I do have a job for you,” said the older brother, looking across the creek at his brother’s farm.  “That’s my neighbor.  In fact, he’s my younger brother.  Last week there was a meadow between us, and he took his bulldozer to the river levee, so now there is a creek between us.  He did that to spite me, but I’ll go him one better.  See that pile of lumber by the barn?  I want you to build me a fence, an 8 foot high 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 than left.  The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, and nailing.  About sunset the following day the farmer returned, just as the carpenter was finishing the job.  The farmer’s eyes opened wide and his jaw dropped.

There was no fence there at all.  It was a bridge!  A fine piece of work, sturdy with handrails.  Just then his younger brother was coming across the field.  The two brothers stood momentarily at each end of the bridge, and then they met in the middle, taking each other’s hand.  “You’re quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I’ve said and done.”

They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox onto his shoulders.  “No, wait!  Stay a few days, I’ve got a lot of other projects for you,” said the older brother.

“I’d love to stay on,” the carpenter said, “but I have many more bridges to build.”

“Blessed are the peacemakers” Matthew 5:9