Pastor’s Corner (11/5/2020)
A friend recently introduced me to the work of John C. Maxwell who is a motivational speaker and pastor. He is a modern leadership guru who has written several books and gives presentations on leadership all around the world. As I was exploring his name on the internet I was struck by a video I found of a presentation he gave on the place of self-discipline in the life of leaders. He used the analogy of bridges versus tunnels. He said, when we’re going “through” a tunnel discipline is difficult. But, if we see ourselves on a bridge, we’re going “to” something. He used the image of a bridge as a metaphor for the link between good intentions and good actions. For Maxwell, the bridge is self-discipline. The bridge carries us over the water from good intentions to good actions. While a tunnel can get us to the other side as well, a bridge does so in a more lively way.
His imagery really struck a chord for me. When I served as a Mission Coworker in Prague, Czech Republic I came to see bridges and tunnels in a whole different light. The Vltava River flows through the heart of Prague and it is spanned by several bridges. The most famous of these bridges is the pedestrian Charles Bridge. It was built centuries ago and gives one a striking view of the city. Generally the bridge is crowded but it is an essential part of this ancient city. The challenge of this bridge, and bridges in general, is that it often takes more time to get from one side of the river to the other. But, it is a magnificent way to go! However, when I was in a hurry I would jump on the Metro which ran through tunnels well under ground. It was not a scenic way to see the city, but it was quick.
In these days of pandemic and protest, which path are we choosing? There are days I simply want to go quickly through a tunnel. I just want to get to the other side. But, often that journey is heavy and the walls seem to close in on all sides. If one keeps one’s head down and moves quickly the end will come soon. It’s not a scenic way to go, but, it can be quick. I find myself wondering what would happen if I made the decision to look at this time as a journey across a bridge? Taking the bridge usually takes more time, but, what a view! While on a bridge we are high above it all taking in the scenery. We’re in the open air enjoying the sunlight and the breeze. Perhaps, if we take the time, we can gain a different perspective on all that is happening in our lives and our world.
It is becoming more and more clear that our current circumstances will not be changing any time soon. With that in mind, what would happen if we each chose the bridge instead of the tunnel? Undoubtedly, there will be days when the tunnel is best. But, let’s take the time and make the effort to cross a bridge every now and again. Such a journey will undoubtedly change our perspective.