It’s 2020. It’s a new year. It’s a new decade. It’s time for change, time for challenge. It’s time for clear vision. And for me, it’s a time to restart the Blueprint for Men blog, ‘The Vellum’. And while ‘The Vellum’ might seem like an unusual name for a blog but I don’t think there could be a more fitting name because it’s based on a powerful metaphor that goes back to the beginning of time.
As I begin, let me first say that I love metaphors. I love them so much that I often consider myself a metaphorical man. And what that basically means it that I am a simple man who must break down complex truths into simple illustrations that pretty much everyone can understand. I discovered during my career as a teacher that if I can’t make complex ideas simple, in the form of an everyday physical metaphor, I don’t really understand whatever it is, and probably am not able to communicate it clearly. But as much as I have developed this way of thinking and communicating I am merely an apprentice.
The Master Teacher
Metaphors are some of the best tools for simply communicating complex ideas. But there’s more. In a metaphor you will discover subtle hidden truths that were not even possible to understand with a complex description. And here’s the thing. What we also discover when we use these methods is that we have actually done nothing more than follow the teaching methods of the Master Teacher, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! He continually used metaphors, similes, and parables to teach unfathomable spiritual truths. And today, two millennia after He spoke these truths, we are still groping with the meaning of many of these parables. I love it!
The Master Blueprint
When I started Blueprint for Men, I chose the name because it represented a plan for men to follow, a blueprint of sorts. And just as a blueprint is a copy of an original plan or prototype that influences subsequent design or practice, every man needs a plan to succeed and lead in life. And I believe that THE MASTER BLUEPRINT is Jesus Christ. Only He provides the perfect example of how men are designed to live.
Of Skins, Parchment, and Vellum
Now, it’s interesting to note that the highest quality blueprints are often called “vellum” prints. Today’s vellum prints are actually made on an imitation vellum, but vellum, real vellum, is made from the skin of animals. The term vellum and parchment are often used interchangeably since they both are made from animal skins but vellum is the finer quality of the two. Vellum has been used for thousands of years for just about every significant written document you can imagine such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Magna Carta, the Gutenberg Bible, and the American Declaration of Independence.
The Paradox: Die to Live
And what I believe is the basic point to this connection between vellum and these documents is the connection between death and freedom. Just as an animal was sacrificed after man first sinned, and its skins were used to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve, representing the freedom from sin that Messiah would bring, so too, do these important documents represent freedom, but with a price of risking death. Jesus is the ultimate vellum, the original document of freedom, freedom from sin and death. This is the great paradox of life… just a Jesus died so that we could live, we must die to self to live fully in him. This is the foundational principle of Blueprint for Men and the foundational principle of life.
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” Matthew 16: 24-26 ESV
Gentlemen, as we start out this new year I would like to consider the ultimate challenge. And the ultimate challenge is simply this… that every day we will chose to take up our cross and follow Him. This is the first and most important step in becoming the men God intended us to be…strong men of God. Let’s make 2020 the year that we live this out as never before. So help us God. Amen