Patterns are used in woodworking to make each piece the correct shape, size or length. The use of patterns speeds up the building process. Patterns prevent the carpenter from having to re-measure each time a cut is made. I remember as a young boy helping my dad build things in his woodshop.
On one occasion we were making something that required several pieces of wood to be cut the same length. I was cutting the pieces and decided instead of measuring each piece prior to cutting I would just use the previously cut piece to mark where the next piece should be cut. My dad noticed what I was doing and told me that was not the best way to mark the lumber. He explained that if I cut a piece too short or long and then used that piece to mark the next piece I was likely going to cut all of the pieces the wrong length. My dad said I should have a master pattern and that every piece should be measured and marked against the master pattern.
I learned a life lesson that day. So how does this apply outside the woodshop? We all have people in our lives who we view as role models (patterns). That person could be our mother, father, grandparent, sibling, close friend, boss or pastor. The problem with using any of these people as our pattern is that other people are not the master pattern. Everyone has their own inadequacies and flaws. Sure we can and should have positive role models.
People we look up to and respect. People who give us the example of righteous living. However, be careful not to completely imitate these people. In doing so, you could take what might be a minor defect and exasperate it in your own life. Everyone has flaws. Even though we have a spirit from God our flesh is of the earth and has sinful tendencies. I’m not suggesting we completely ignore the influence of godly people in our lives.
On the contrary, we should be certain to imitate all of the good traits and examples set by these godly people. We all need people in our lives that build us up and give us good examples. People who hold us accountable to a higher standard. These people, our mentors and influencers are vital if we want to lead positive, productive Christian lives. Just be careful that you don’t pattern your life completely around these people. Just like the lesson I learned that day in my dad’s woodshop, there should only be one master pattern. That one master pattern is Jesus Christ. Only Jesus is flawless. There has never been and will never be anyone else that can be considered the master pattern.
In a recent Sunday School lesson there was an example given that really drives this point home. It went something like this…….Todd really thought Mark had his act together. Todd completely respected Mark and tried to be just like him. Mark had a friend named Steve. In Mark’s mind Steve was a great guy who lived a perfect life so Mark tried to be just like Steve. Steve worked with a guy named Jason. Steve never saw Jason do anything wrong. Jason was always confident, humble and in complete control. Steve tried his best to imitate Jason. Jason also had a friend who he felt was a great example to follow. According to Jason, this guy was the best. Jason never met anyone else with as much self-control and faith. Can you guess who this person was that Jason admired and attempted to imitate? It was Todd. So Todd wanted to be like Mark who wanted to be like Steve who wanted to be like Jason who wanted to be like Todd. Instead of imitating each other these guys need to re-focus their energies on imitating the master pattern, Jesus Christ.
Godly people can be a role model and mentor but we should strive to make Jesus our Master Pattern.
Brent Hairr resides in Salemburg where he is a deacon at Freedom Baptist Church. Contact him at 910-385-8421.