The World – Making the last rivet the best – December 12, 2020

A French poet tells a story of how, near a river that flows between France and Germany, a blacksmith was busy one snowy night near Christmas. He was weary after a long day’s toil. He could see the lights of his cottage where his wife and children were waiting their festal supper when he should return. He had reached the last piece of the work, a difficult rivet that was to hold together the last strain on the bridge. This was a peculiar design, intended by the builder to pin together the metal work of a bridge that was being laid over the stream.

The smith was sorely tempted to hasten the work in his shop, but his better self whispered to him that he should do his best on this last piece. He turned again to the work with a sigh. Nor did he rest until he had made the rivet the best possible.

Years passed on. War broke out. A squadron of the blacksmith’s countrymen were driven over the bridge headlong in flight. Men and horses and guns tested its firmness. For a moment the bridge seemed to tremble, as the weight of the mass hung on that one rivet – but the rivet held. This old smith had given his countrymen their chance of safety.

Possibly under the strain of trouble, or care, or haste, we have failed our fellow men and our God by putting less than the best into the one rivet, the one moment, the one task on which their destiny at a later time must hang.

May every rivet be the best!

(Excerpts from “Answered prayers and soul-winning incidents – published in 1940)