According to the Pattern
When Moses, the leader of Israel, was called up to Mt. Sinai, he left the multitudes in the plains below and ascended the holy mount alone, where he spent forty days with the Lord. During that time the Ten Commandments were given him, and also a perfect vision of the tabernacle — its shape, size, curtains, boards, vessels, the holy place, and the holy of holies. Before he descended from the mount, he was commanded to build this beautiful structure according to the pattern shown him in the mount.
There is something analogous to this that takes place in the life of every true saint. Some people will never be the same because of the wonderful visions they have received while in this holy mount. From this we wish to draw several lessons. First, he who would get God’s thoughts and plan for his life must leave the crowds below and ascend some holy mount of prayer, tarrying there until the plan be given. Too many wait only long enough to obtain a partial vision, and in consequence their lives are lacking in symmetrical Christlikeness and their characters are never well rounded.
Second, God has a plan for each individual life. “The Bible is full of this thought, that for each one of us there is a course, a race, a work, an individual life to be lived, and to this end we have been created and redeemed, and for this purpose there is ample provision of grace and inspiration to accomplish the purpose of God in our life.” Not only has God a plan for each individual life, but we separate and distinct from every other creature. It is of supreme importance that the individual ascertain this purpose and this plan. Multitudes are drifting without one purpose or one aim in life. There is no such thing as success or greatness of character without a high and holy ideal or pattern by which to build. For some, to “build according to the pattern” means to cross oceans and live and labor and die among a people of darkened minds and benighted souls. To others, it may mean to declare the everlasting Gospel and live a life of self-denial and sacrifice.
Third, it is possible to lose sight of the pattern and begin to build according to our own notions. Truths that are distasteful to the carnal-minded are left off. When this takes place, the glory and sweetness gradually departs from one’s life. Dr. G. D. Watson says, in Bridehood Saints, “There are many Christians, it would seem, who miss their true mission in life, and, although they may be saved in the end, yet because of lack of perseverance, or by being influenced by other people’s conscience, frustrate the special vocation to which they were called. . . . Here is a gifted preacher whom God distinctly calls to preach Sanctification, but for policy’s sake he neglects it.” He may get thoroughly awakened and allow God to make something out of him in his last days, but he has certainly frustrated God’s plan for his life.
The story is told of the man who drew the plans and blue prints for the great Brooklyn Bridge, and, while it was under construction, he took sick and was bedfast for months. But the work went right on according to the blue print. Finally, when the bridge was completed, preparations were made for the great architect to see the workmanship. Tender hands lifted him from his sickbed, and he was conveyed to the bridge, and lowered in a boat to inspect the work. After carefully observing it, a look of satisfaction and a deep smile spread over his face, and he was heard to say, “It is according to the pattern.” Wouldn’t it be well to stop and ask ourselves the question, if we are building according to the pattern? Have we ever seen brighter and better days? Do we manifest a lamblike spirit when abused and misunderstood? In other words, if we are building “according to the pattern,” we should have a larger faith, deeper joy, and more Christlike spirit.