"We are not measured by the trials we meet -- only by those we overcome."
- - Spencer W. Kimball
June 26, 2013
Our "Pattern and Friend"
by Kathryn Grant

“Shrink not from your duty, however unpleasant / But follow the Savior, your pattern and friend.” So counsels the latter-day hymn, “The Time is Far Spent.”

We know the Savior is the perfect pattern for us to follow, and some patterns of His life seem to get a lot of our attention. For instance, we often speak of how He did His Father’s will (John 5:19, John 6:38); how He taught in parables (Matt 13:34); and how He healed the sick according to their faith (see, for example, Matt 9:20–22 and Luke 18:35–42).

But what about other patterns in the Savior’s life, perhaps less obvious, that can encourage and inspire us?

In her life-changing book One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp tells of her unexpected discovery of one pattern in the Savior’s life: gratitude to His Father. Before raising Lazarus from the dead, the Savior prayed, “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.” (John 11:41.) Before five loaves and two fishes became enough to feed five thousand, the Savior “gave thanks” (John 6:11).

On another occasion, after grieving for a faithless and wicked generation, He prayed again, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” (Matthew 11:25.)

And significantly, before facing the agony of Gethsemane and the cross, Jesus took the cup and the bread—the very emblems of His coming suffering and death — and “gave thanks” (Luke 22:17, 19).

How might this pattern inspire us to be more grateful for blessings we receive, even when those blessings come with challenges?

Another intriguing pattern is the Lord’s use of questions to help His listeners grow and learn.1 Since He is all-knowing, He could simply declare His words rather than ever ask us a question. But since He loves us, He engages us in finding answers.

For example, when teaching about the importance of not judging, the Lord could have said, “Thou beholdest the mote in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam in thine own eye.” But instead, He used a question to invite us to consider our own behavior and motives: “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Luke 6:41.)

The Lord invited similar introspection when He asked, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46.)

It was also through a question that the Lord invited Peter to confirm his witness of the Lord’s divinity:

[Jesus] asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. (Matthew 16:13–16.)

How could we use questions to engage others and help them find their own vital answers?

Another pattern that may not be so obvious is how frequently the Savior came to the temple. Most of us are familiar with the time He drove away the money changers (John 2:13; Luke 2:25-38). The Lord must have seen in them an example of valuing the temple.

At age 12, Jesus was in the temple “about his Father’s business” (Luke 2:46-49). He spent time in the temple so that the blind and the lame could come unto Him to be healed (Matthew 21:14). When the mob came to arrest Him near the end of His life, His words to them gave evidence of His love for the temple: “I sat daily with you teaching in the temple.” (Matthew 26:55.)

Knowing how the Savior reverenced the temple and went there often, how might we follow this pattern more fully in our lives?

As I've read the scriptures looking for patterns in the Savior's life, it's been a treasure hunt (Colossians 2:2-3). No doubt there are more treasures of patterns to discover! May we search the scriptures for these patterns so we can learn from them and become more like our divine “Pattern and Friend.”

1 For a poetic and thought-provoking exploration of how the Lord uses questions, see The Lord’s Question: A Call to Come Unto Him by Dennis Rasmussen.

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About Kathryn Grant

Kathryn Grant is a user assistance professional with a passion for usability and process improvement. She also loves family history and enjoys the challenge and reward of building her family tree.

As a child, she lived outside the United States for four years because of her father's job. This experience fueled her natural love of words and language, and also taught her to appreciate other cultures.

Kathryn values gratitude, teaching, learning, differences, and unity. She loves looking at star-filled skies, reading mind-stretching books, listening to contemporary Christian music, attending the temple, and eating fresh raspberries.

Kathryn teaches Sunday family history classes at the BYU Family History Library, and presents frequently at family history events. For more information, visit her Family History Learning Resources page

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