Spiritual fitness ‘bridged’ through three qualities

| January 15, 2013 | 0 Comments

Chaplain (Capt.) Mark McCorkle
84th Engineer Battalion, 8th Theater Sustainment Command



As a chaplain assigned to an engineer unit, I discovered that God is very interested in relating the construction of a bridge to the construction of human spiritual fitness.

I have discovered three important qualities needed when building a bridge that relate to humans: tolerance, creativity and leadership.

Tolerance gives leeway for imperfections, creativity provides solutions to unconventional problems, and nothing gets done unless a leader births leadership.

Tolerance. In the engineer’s world, tolerances are specified to allow a reasonable leeway for imperfections and permit inherent variability without compromising performance. For a bridge, tolerance allows for expected flaws in construction.

But how do humans get the results they want when they are so well aware of their imperfections? As humans, what flaws do we have that need tolerance? As the Bible puts it, grace provides.

God gives us grace to get the job done in our lives day to day. Though too much tolerance in a bridge can cause it to fall if it goes beyond its purpose, from the human perspective, grace is given to aid in our own ability.

Grace is God’s way of making up for our inability, not an excuse for our inability. In other words, grace is not to be used as an excuse to keep doing things that are wrong.

Creativity. It refers to the invention or origination of any new thing that has value. For example, think of leaks found along the joints of a bridge. In the construction of one famous bridge, lead wool used to pack the joints didn’t stop the water. Eventually, soft wooden wedges driven into the joints proved a fairly effective means of stopping the flow.

In comparison, humans are God’s finest creation, and we have flaws. God gave men and women innovative and creative ways to stop the leaks of joy, peace and contentment from life. This may be done by confronting a bad habit; giving more of one’s time, talent and treasure to those who are in need; starting a journaling regimen; or finding time to be alone in prayer.

Leadership. It’s the high demand for diligent maintenance. Bridge building requires constant leadership. Determining where a person is in his or her spiritual walk will also determine the amount of attention that is needed.

When more work is needed than what is usually required, good leaders will be aware of it and speak about it or acknowledge it openly. We can never afford to ignore issues in life and just hope they go away.

Attention must be given to the problem. For a bridge, attention prevents it from falling, and for a life, attention prevents it from failing. In both examples, the same principle is in effect during the process: to feel safe through the process of trial and error until a solution is discovered.

Tolerance, creativity and leadership are three important aspects that bring success when building a bridge. It is the leader who will cast the vision of value and honor through a cyclical message, keeping minds set on things of true substance like service, duty and honor.

It sets a tone in life that encourages people today not only to live, but to build physical and spiritual bridges that improve the way in life.

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Category: Footsteps in Faith, News, Standing Columns

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