I couldn’t believe what I was reading. The sign said I was going to have to pay 5p to cross the bridge in my car. I knew that I didn’t have any cash and unfortunately after reading the sign I didn’t have time to turn around before I was on the bridge.
At the toll booth, I apologized to the person collecting the 5p’s and I explained that I had no cash and I was greatly relieved when he said ‘don’t worry about it’ and waved me on.
As I drove on, my son and I talked about how strange it was that they would collect such a small amount of money but then it occurred to me that those 5p’s must add up to quite a lot if they can afford to pay 2 people to collect the money.
Later, I googled to find out more about the Swinford Toll Bridge and I found out that in 2009 it was reported that;
‘Just under four million vehicles use the bridge to get in and out of Oxford city centre, which is six miles away, every year and it is especially busy during rush hour. It has a gross annual income of around £190,000.’ (source)
5p is such a small amount of money and yet over a year these coins add up to £190,000!
A 5p coin feels insignificant and if I dropped one it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I couldn’t pick it up (seriously, have you ever tried to pick up a 5p coin? I’m sure they are designed to be almost impossible to pick up). In contrast, if I dropped £190,000, I would certainly make the effort to pick it up.
As I thought about this later, the thing that struck me is that we should never count ourselves as insignificant. We may feel like we can’t change the world, but together with others we can make a huge difference.
So, the next time you feel discouraged because you feel like you aren’t making a difference I hope that you remember the 5p toll charge that adds up to a lot.
I pray that God would encourage, guide and direct us as we work with other people to make this world a better place.
In 2009, someone bought the bridge for £1.09 million. They realized what a great investment that the bridge could be and so they paid out a huge amount of money to make the bridge (and all the 5p’s it would bring in) theirs.
Many of us may feel insignificant, but amazingly, Jesus died on a cross to pay the price for our freedom. Jesus showed that he thinks that we were worth rescuing and he gave his life to take away the sin that separates us from God. You can read more about this in Jesus died on the cross, so why do we call it Good Friday?
Jesus paid out a huge amount so that the people of this world could have the opportunity to know God, both now and forever. So, what is stopping us?
Thanks to Esther Warner who has given me permission me to use her picture of the toll sign in this post. She even had 5p when she crossed!