Pulpit Reflections by the Rev. Stewart Lozensky Seventh Day Adventis Church When my children were younger their school had a special project for the students. The kids were asked to build toothpick bridges. Each bridge had to be built to the exact specifications and all had to use the same brand of toothpicks, glue, etc.
It seems like each bridge needed about 4,000 toothpicks and so we would have to test each toothpick for strength. Holding the toothpick at its points, one point on your thumb and the other on your first finger, you would apply some pressure to see if the toothpick would hold up. Those that didn't break easily were used for the bridge.
These projects took a great deal of time and patience. Finally we gathered at the school gymnasium for a parents night and for the stress testing of the bridges. Each bridge took its turn spanning the gap between two tables.
Weights were added in five pound increments to see how much the bridge could hold before it collapsed. It was interesting to watch as the pounds were added to what seemed to be fairly fragile bridges � 30-35-40 pounds.
Some bridges collapsed at about 45 pounds and yet others held up much longer. The record that night was 103 pounds.
Fragile though they seemed to be, those bridges held up quite well.
Friends, we all can be bridge builders. Maybe there needs to be a bridge built between you and someone in your family. Maybe a friendship has suffered the effects of stress and strain and the bridge needs repairing.
For some of us the relationship with our Lord and Savior may not be what it should be. You know that Jesus spans the gap for all of us. We are sinners who deserve to die and yet through Christ we can pass from death unto life eternal. We all benefit from bridge building. Yes, sometimes it takes some effort and quite a bit of patience but more often then not it is worth the effort.
In conclusion I will add this neat story. I am not sure who wrote it, so I will just give all the glory to God.
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 conflict. 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 silence.
One morning there was a knock on John's door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter's tool box. "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 do him one better. See that pile of lumber by the barn? I want you to build me a fence; an eight-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, 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 toward them, 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 onto 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."