Sewing was an important part of most of my life. When I was in my early teens, my cousin Betty Lou, who lived next door, helped me understand a pattern, cut out a dress and make it. I was delighted to wear my new turquoise dress for Easter that year, and that experience was the beginning of many years of sewing. Because I loved to sew, Mom paid $100 towards a $169 Singer portable sewing machine that I took to Argentina as a new bride. It didn’t take long to discover something…there were no patterns available in Argentina at that time! No Simplicity! How could I sew without a pattern? With some ingenuity and a lot of creativity, I figured out how to make my own patterns on brown paper, and made a lot our kid’s clothes during their growing-up years, and many of my own as well. There’s one thing I learned by making all those home-made patterns: it sure is a LOT easier to sew WITH a pattern than WITHOUT one!
Reading in Philippians a few days ago, the apostle Paul’s words reminded me of that discovery. He wrote: “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.” Being a tent-maker, Paul may have appreciated the value of a pattern. In this passage he places himself and those who follow his example as our pattern! You might ask, as I did… “a pattern of what?”
Reading through all of Philippians to see what pattern he set, we find that Paul’s pattern was simply having an eternal perspective. In prayer and intercession; in the love he had for his fellow believers; the encouragement, instruction and mentoring he did; his willingness to sacrifice himself for the cause of Christ; his boldness in sharing the gospel; his attitude towards his past and vision for the future …everything he did, lived and taught was done with an eternal perspective. THAT’S the pattern he set, and here’s what I’m discovering: it’s a lot easier to follow Paul’s pattern of having an eternal perspective, than it is to try to wing-it through life without it!