• Rev. Tim Machtel

The Gap

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV


There are essentially five different types of bridges in the world. The Girder Bridge is a system of girders that lay across the span, or gap, with the ends overlapping the sides of the span. The Arch Bridge is a system of stone or concrete that is built from the bottom of each side of the span working its way toward the center of the span in an arch, or several arches across the span. A Cable-Stayed Bridge is a system that uses girders that span across towers. The towers then support cables, which in turn support the girders. Rigid Frame Bridges are a system of piers and girders forming a more rigid and stable structure. Finally, Truss Bridges are systems of straight beams with trusses being made of many smaller beams. Within these five different types of bridges there are many, many variations used to accomplish the same thing—spanning the gap. Bridges take us from one side of a gap to the other. Without the bridge it would be incredibly difficult, or even impossible, to get to the other side. Bridges are necessary in travel and in life.

The current cultural climate we live in consists of a lot of gaps. It seems as though people are standing on opposite sides of a large gap or ravine. Often times there does not seem to be anything spanning or filling the gap. I believe the way I believe and others believe the way they believe and there is no middle ground. People tend to focus on the extreme sides of the gap. There is a lost art of figuring out what will go in the gap or how we will span the gap at all. In recent years we have seen some high-profile bridge collapses. There has been an increased call on the need to repair or replace many of the country's aging bridges. There is an increasing need for bridge builders in our country. I believe the same argument could be made in our society as a whole. We have many bridges that have collapsed in our culture, our political systems, and our relationships with each other. We have either been so focused on our side of the span or not concerned about the gap that we have not noticed the collapse of the bridge itself.

We are called to be bridge builders as followers of Jesus. To be bridge builders we need to pay close attention to both sides of the gap, but most importantly we need to pay attention to the gap. When we understand the gap, we can begin to understand how to fill it, or span the gap. Bridge builders pay close attention to the gap. They look at how wide the gap is, if there are typically high winds, and the type of land. After looking at everything the bridge builder decides what type of bridge is needed, draws up the plans, and begins the work. This is a good model for followers of Jesus. Where we see a gap in our relationships, we should determine how wide the gap is, what type of bridge will best fill, or span, the gap, think about how we will fill the gap, and then get to work. Building relational, theological, emotional, and spiritual bridges takes a lot of hard work. It all begins with the choice to build the bridge—fill the gap.

The most important key to being a bridge builder for Jesus is trust. In The Book of Proverbs we read, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” [3:5-6] When there is a gap we are faced with the choice of how to span that gap. Solomon offers that we should fill that gap, first and foremost, with trust in Jesus. Trust the Lord. Jesus can help you understand why the gap is there in the first place. Jesus can also help you be a bridge builder. Jesus is the master bridge builder. It was the purpose of his life, ministry, death, and resurrection. There was a gap between God and humankind. Jesus filled that gap through the cross and the empty tomb. It is the resurrection that bridges the gap between humankind and God. Jesus chose to fill the gap with trust in God the Father. Jesus suffered on our behalf to the point of death on the cross. On the third day God raised Jesus from the dead to live and reign forever. It is the ultimate act of bridge building—filling the gap.

You will experience gaps in your life today, this week, and always. How will you choose to fill the gap? Will you trust in the Lord with all your heart? Will you lean on Jesus and not your own understanding? Will you submit to Jesus in all your ways? The most important key of bridge building is trust. Will you join me in choosing today to trust in Jesus with all your heart and not on your own understanding? It’s a choice how we fill the gap.

This Sunday is Memorial Day weekend. We will discuss how we fill the gaps in our life. We will also honor those who stood in the gap for our country and gave the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf. I hope you will join me this Sunday at 8:15|NINE45|11:15 for worship. You can also go to SAUMC.NET and join us via livestream. The best is yet to come. I love you all and can’t wait to see you in church!

#fillingthegap #aplaceforgrace #bridgebuilders

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3315 S. Bryan Rd. | Brandon, FL 33511 | 813.689.6849

Sunday Worship: 8:15, 9:45, 11:15 a.m.