BUILD BRIDGES NOT FENCES
Once upon a time two brothers who lived on adjoining
farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious
rift in 40 years of farming side by side, sharing
machinery, and trading labor and goods as needed
without a hitch. Then the long collaboration fell
apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it
grew into a major difference, and finally it exploded
into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of
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? Could I help you?"
"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 and he 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 go 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
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, nailing. About sunset when the
farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his
job. The farmer's eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped.
There was no fence there at all. It was a bridge -- a
bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the
other! A fine piece of work, handrails and all -- and
the neighbor, his younger brother, was coming across,
his hand outstretched.
"You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all
I've said and done." The two brothers stood at each
end of the bridge, and then they met in the middle,
taking each other's hand. They turned to see the
carpenter hoist his toolbox on his shoulder. "No,
wait! Stay a few days.
I've 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."
REMEMBER THIS: God won't ask what kind of car you
drove, but He'll ask how many people you drove who
didn't have transportation.
God won't ask the square footage of your house, but
He'll ask how many people you welcomed into your home.
God won't ask about the clothes you had in your
closet, but He'll ask how many you helped to clothe.
God won't ask about your social status, but He will
ask what kind of class you displayed.
God won't ask how many material possessions you had,
but He'll ask if they dictated your life.
God won't ask what your highest salary was, but He'll
ask if you compromised your character to obtain it.
God won't ask how much overtime you worked, but He'll
ask if your overtime work was for yourself or for your
God won't ask how many promotions you received, but
He'll ask how you promoted others.
God won't ask what your job title was, but He'll ask
if you performed your job to the best of your ability.
God won't ask what you did to help yourself, but He'll
ask what you did to help others.
God won't ask how many friends you had, but He'll ask
how many people to whom you were a friend.
God won't ask what you did to protect your rights, but
He'll ask what you did to protect the rights of
God won't ask in what neighborhood you lived, but
He'll ask how you treated your neighbors.
God won't ask about the color of your skin, but He'll
ask about the content of your character.
God won't ask how many times your deeds matched your
words, but He'll ask how many times they didn't.
God won't ask why it took you so long to seek
Salvation, but He'll lovingly take you to your mansion
in heaven, and not to the gates of Hell.
God won't ask how many people you forwarded this to,
but He'll ask if you were ashamed to pass it on to