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 silence.

One morning, there was a knock on John’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. 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 was no fence there at all.

It was a bridge.

A bridge that stretched 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 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.”

–author unknown

7 Responses to The Carpenter

  1. Maxen says:

    That’s an inspirational piece. Thanks so very much.

  2. Liza Conclara says:

    Let us all unite to build the bridge.
    Thank you for sharing this story.

  3. Agnes Ngingo says:

    Wow! He is still the Carpenter building bridges where disputes thrive. I pray that He will build bridges for me where I have held grudges.

    Thank you for that beautiful and challenging message. God continue blessing you and the work that you are doing for His kingdom.

  4. Steven Lumonya says:

    Thank you for this moving yet encouraging story.

  5. Diane Reid says:

    Love this ! Years ago I was having trouble forgiving someone who harmed me sexually and finally my therapist said “You need to build a bridge and get over it”…it stung a bit to hear this but it was what I needed. I did it and it freed me from the anger, unforgiveness and bitterness I had been holding on to. Later, I have encouraged others to do this (when the Lord opened a door for me to share my story)… I think I needed to hear this again today. Thanks, and I hope it helps others ! Keep up the good work!

  6. Diane Brandt says:

    That was an awesome story. Many times we don’t really realize some of the bridges that we need to build to others in our life.

  7. Waiting patiently IH says:

    Thank you! God is so Awesome! There’s not a day that I don’t think of my older brother I miss him very much. This story is truly a blessing to me it gives me hope that one day we will embrace and the love will be there. So, I will wait until someone comes along and build a bridge. That him I can cross and meet and be over joyed at the beauty knowing that there is no obstacle God’s love can not fix. So I will wait for the appointed time for us to embrace each other.

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