THE IMPORTANCE OF “WHY”
WHY do professing Christians do what they do? This question holds the key to whether or not those who profess Christianity are actually being faithful. Too often we focus upon the HOW rather than the WHY. But it is the WHY that is critical to the WHAT and the HOW. Without the WHY, the What and the HOW matters little.Successful leaders are distinct from those that fail because they begin with WHY rather than with WHAT or HOW.
The Gospel itself is based upon the WHY. Of course, the WHAT and HOW naturally follow, but WHAT and HOW did not launch the Gospel. It was the WHY.
Why did God send the Savior? It was to save an elect people for Himself, for the glorification of His Holy Name through the righteous reconstruction of the world as a result of Adam’s fall. He accomplishes that with the WHAT, i.e. the Second Person of the Trinity, the LORD Christ. The life, crucifixion, death, atonement, resurrection, ascension and the sending of the Spirit at Pentecost is the HOW. God accomplishes the totality of His Covenant plan with the WHAT and the HOW, but it begins with the WHY.
Fidelity, Productivity and the “WHY”
Once we begin with WHY we do what we do, the WHAT and the HOW follows. WHY is the motivation which leads to faithful productivity and Gospel success. The WHY is our calling under God. It is what we believe. It is our cause and purpose in life. We do what we do because we love the Lord in response to His love toward us. This WHY should be behind everything we do. If we do anything that does not have Christ and His Gospel as the motivating WHY it is no longer for the Glory of God.
In Simon Sinek’s book, “Start with Why”1 he explains the importance of communicating with the WHY before discussing the WHAT or the HOW. Transposing his ideas and applying them to the Christian faith was very helpful to me personally. His premise is that before explaining to people WHAT we are going to do, or HOW we are going to do it, in our case for the reconstruction of the culture, we must explain to others WHY we want to change the culture. The WHY clarifies our purpose. It telegraphs our passion. This serves as a very impressionable tactic for a starting point.
By sharing the WHY, our message becomes inspirational rather than manipulative. People need to know WHY we are doing this thing or that thing before they become interested in WHAT we are doing or HOW we are going to accomplish it.
Case in point: Postmillennialism
If we begin telling people HOW, or by WHAT methods, we are going to promote the Crown Rights of King Jesus and His total conquest of culture within the realm of time and history we have already lost our hearers if they do not understand WHY we are promoting it. This principle can be applied to just about everything we seek to accomplish. Explaining WHY you do something Kingdom-ward can be used as a challenge for the empowerment of others to change the status quo of secularism.
Once they know WHY you are so passionate about the thing you are doing the
WHAT and the HOW naturally follows. Every Gospel reconstruction message must start with WHY; a purpose, cause or belief that has nothing to do with the WHAT or the HOW. People don’t care as much as to the WHAT or HOW you do this or that thing, but WHY you do it. Every worthy cause must be championed first with the WHY before the WHAT and the HOW can materialize.
1 “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” Simon Sinek, Penguin, 2009