By Judy Brandon: Religion columnist
When Susie and I were growing up, mother made our clothes.
Cloth World was our favorite store. Simplicity and McCall’s patterns were common things around our house. She would spread the material out on the kitchen table, lay the pattern over the material, pin the pieces to the material with straight pens and cut the pieces out. She would not take a step toward sewing unless the pattern was cut out properly and in place. She had to follow the pattern or it all would be a big mess.
What about this pattern for our lives? We all at times think about the great questions of life. What is the pattern, the meaning and the purpose of life?
Sometimes I have looked back and wonder why I made certain choices or why I went into education. Sometimes I have gone to great lengths in a flurry of activity to try and find my purpose.
I am not alone. For centuries people have wondered about the purpose of life. Paul had some simple answers to these questions that seem so difficult. Paul was in Athens, in the city square, the gathering place where everyone met to exchange ideas, tell news and philosophize about life. He walked the streets and saw all the statues to gods they had on display. This troubled him a great deal.
Then he saw one statue to a god with the inscription that read: “To the unknown God.” I suppose they were afraid that they might miss a god. (Acts 17:16-32)
So Paul seized on that. He yearned to tell them about Christ and his experiences with the Lord. So he got their attention, in this city gathering place where everyone exchanged ideas and boldly began to preach to them about the unknown God.
He told them that he recognized that they were a very religious people because he had walked around the city and seen all their gods. But he said he was there to tell them about one god, the unknown God. Paul told them that in knowing this unknown God they could find the pattern, purpose and meaning of their lives.
Paul told them that we have our beginnings in God — we are from his pattern. That makes us have incredible worth. The Bible says that he knew from the foundations of the earth that we would be here. Where did we come from? We came from God.
Then Paul answered another question. He said the meaning of life is to follow the pattern that God has set before us. Paul says that we are here to glorify God. So what is the meaning of life — to live in such a way to glorify the one who created us.
Then Paul answered another question: Where are we going? He told the crowd that there will be judgment. There is an eternity. Our purpose is to live life and glorify God and live forever in eternity with him.
The dresses mother made for us always fit really well. She carefully followed the pattern as best she could. As a result, we were proud to wear them because our mother had made them.
I know that life does not always go that smooth but there seems to be a parallel. The source of our lives, the pattern of our lives and the purpose of our lives will be known to us and will be a good fit if we know the one who created us.