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.
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 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 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."
God won't ask how much overtime you worked, but He'll ask if your overtime work was for yourself or for your family.
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 others.
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.