The Surprising Thing Elder Bednar Told a Man in a Hardware Store That Reveals How Christ Works in Our Lives

A Pattern in All Things

One day I was repairing the roof on our home. Because I had run out of nails and other materials, I went to a local store to purchase the required items. I was wearing my customary work clothes—casual pants and shoes, a well-worn T-shirt, and a baseball hat. Wanting to quickly return home and complete my project, I hurriedly entered the store and began looking for the things I needed. A man approached me as I was selecting my supplies.

He observed, “Elder Bednar, the disguise is not working.” We laughed, and then he inquired, “Do you mind if I ask you a question?”

I responded, “Well, that is why I am here.”

He replied quizzically, “What do you mean?” I said, “You are the reason I am here. I am doing repair work at my home, and I need a few things to finish the task. But I am not in this store simply to buy roofing nails. I am here because God knew we were going to meet each other in this store and that you had something about which you wanted to ask. Please go ahead and share with me your question.”

We talked in the aisle for about 15 minutes, and I tried to help him find the answer to his question. Was it merely a coincidence that I encountered this good man at the local store? Or was this episode divinely orchestrated by a loving Savior who knew and responded to the concerns of a faithful man—a one?

I believe that in the work of the Lord there is no such thing as a coincidence. The worth of souls is great in the sight of God. In a revelation given through the Prophet Joseph Smith in June of 1831, the Lord declared: “I will give unto you a pattern in all things, that ye may not be deceived; for Satan is abroad in the land, and he goeth forth deceiving the nations” (Doctrine and Covenants 52:14).

Please consider a specific phrase in this verse, a pattern in all things. Interestingly, the Lord gave us a and not the pattern in all things. I do not believe the Lord is suggesting that He has only one pattern to be used in every situation. Rather, the Lord’s way includes a variety of patterns that can be employed to achieve different spiritual objectives.

Through the episodes I have related and many more—episodes that are frequent, always individualized, and too numerous to count—the fundamental pattern of one by one inherent in the Lord’s work has distilled upon my soul more completely and powerfully than ever before.

In this book, Elder David A. Bednar offers a compelling look at a pattern the Lord uses to bless His people: He works with us on an individual basis, one by one. Demonstrating that pattern as it occurs throughout the scriptures, in the lives of many Church leaders, and in his own ministry, Elder Bednar invites us to open our hearts to the Lord's love. He also teaches that by ministering as the Savior does, one by one, we can be more powerful instruments in His hands to accomplish His purposes.

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