No one knows for sure when the first bridge was built. Probably by some nameless soul who used a fallen tree to span a gulley of water. Since that time bridges have become very sophisticated and crucial parts of our lives. Chances are you cross at least one bridge in your daily travels. Especially in our part of the world, where streams, creeks, rivers and valleys are as common as yellow dogs.
While there are literal bridges in our lives, there are also figurative bridges. My Grandfather was a figurative bridge in my life. He spanned the time from my biological father, who was not an ideal father by any means, to my Dad, who was the example of what a Godly father should be.
I can’t say that my Papaw Armstrong knew he was a bridge in my life or even wanted to be. Thankfully he was. He was a solid example of a loving, hardworking man who at the same time never used excuses to not do what needed to be done. Even with a wooden leg. He was the closest thing to having a Pirate for a grandfather that a kid could have.
To say I looked up to him would be an understatement. As I get older, I admire him more and more. At that time in my life I needed a man to show me how a real man should act. He wasn’t perfect or sinless by any stretch of the imagination. But he was the bridge that a young boy needed to help him get over the pain and embarrassment of a selfish, absent biological father to the man who would love him and treat him like he was his biological son.
Without my grandfather’s example, who knows where I would have ended up?
We also have a literal bridge in our life that we, the followers of Christ, travel on each and every day. That bridge is Christ. He came to bridge the gap that separates us from God. We are all separated from God by our sin. There is no way that we can bridge that gap. No matter how good we think we are, or how many good deeds we think we can do, we can never span that gap.
Some will even try other bridges, believing in false gods and beliefs, confidently proclaiming that they have found another way to God. The truth is, they aren’t on a bridge but a wide highway to eternal separation from the one, true God. Christ is the only bridge.
Many will claim to be walking the bridge of Christ but will in reality be headed in the wrong direction. Others will actually get on the bridge and sit down, believing that there is nothing left to do but wait and be carried across. Finally, there are those who say they are on the bridge but live as if on the wide road to destruction.
While the bridge of Christ is open to anyone who would believe in Him, and His yoke is easy and His burden is light, it is not a cake walk. We are called to seek Him first, to die to ourselves pick up our crosses and follow Him. This bridge is narrow but there is plenty of room for those who seek to be true followers of Christ. Are you on this bridge? If not, what are you waiting for?
“Jesus, through this act of great humility, gave those closest to Him an example of the kind of humble leadership He wanted them to demonstrate to the world.” S. Truett Cathy, form his book “It’s Better To Build Boys Than Mend Men”, page 101.
Maybe you have or had a figurative bridge in your life. Do you recognize it? Maybe you are that bridge in someone’s life right now. It could be a young boy who doesn’t have the father figure he needs and you are the closest father figure he may ever know. Are you setting a godly example? Or maybe it’s a young girl who doesn’t have a loving father in her life, and you will be the example of the man she will seek in a husband. Are we setting a Christ-like example?
As followers of Christ, we may be a bridge for our spouse, a child, a relative, a neighbor, a co-worker, a fellow church member or a complete stranger. You may never know the impact you have. I never had the opportunity to thank my grandfather. But getting credit is not the goal. The credit belongs to Christ. We should be thankful and eager to serve.
Mankind has been able to build some incredible bridges. We have spanned wide rivers, parts of oceans and deep valleys. If it makes our lives easier and gets us there faster, we can build a bridge. But we can’t span the gulf that separates us from a Holy God. He is the only bridge builder and Christ is the only bridge.
“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5 (NIV).
Be a bridge and run to the Cross!