As I’m sure you know, the city of Atlanta hosted this year’s Super Bowl. Officials estimated approximately 150,000 out of town guests and over 1 million total people would attend the game or the various events leading up to it.
Two separate stories caught my eye during the week leading up to the big game. Interestingly, both involved bridges . . .
Bridge 1: Atlanta paid $23 million to build a bridge connecting the surrounding parking lots to the stadium. The goal was to create a better experience for ticket holders walking to the stadium. Instead of navigating the busy streets and the trash, noise, and homeless population lining them, they would use this new bridge. But a few days before the game, NFL security deemed the bridge “unsafe,” forcing everyone back to the street to access the big game.
Bridge 2: In a story about the homeless population in downtown Atlanta, I watched two NFL stars visit “The Bridge to Nowhere.” Originally built in 1912, in the ’90s, half of the bridge was torn down, leaving the other half to stop in mid-air. The bridge has now become a tent city for the homeless, overrun with needles and broken glass.
Two bridges in the same city . . . both built with a destination in mind . . . both ultimately leading nowhere.
Two bridges . . . both built on hollow promises. One looks good but is incapable of getting people to the other side. The other capable of getting you halfway there, only to leave you stuck.
Let’s back up a minute; why do we build bridges? To help us navigate an obstacle impeding our path. They exist to make our lives easier and safer.
We all build bridges in our lives. We do things that we think will help us reach a desired destination . . . success, happiness, stability, status, etc. But many (maybe even most) of these bridges end up being full of empty promises, unfit to carry us across or leaving us stranded halfway to our destination . . . just like our two bridges in Atlanta.
In my pre-Radical Mentoring career days, the idea of earning the commission of the salespeople I managed sounded better than just signing off on their commission statements, so I built what I thought would be a bridge leading me to the destination of money and status. Instead, I soon discovered a bridge leading me nowhere.
All this thinking about bridges, got me thinking about how Jesus said we’re unable to serve two masters. We can’t serve God and money (or religion, worry, sex, drugs, alcohol, marriage, social media, career . . . the list goes on and on). Not all of those are necessarily bad things, but all of them, on their own, will lead us nowhere (or worse, somewhere we don’t want to be).
So, as Jesus-followers, if our bridges are leading somewhere else, they can’t also be leading to our ultimate destination of loving God and loving others. And those bridges may need to be torn down. Or at least reconstructed or rerouted. But don’t wait, do it before they lead you nowhere.
Scripture: No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (Matthew 6:24)