A few years ago, I spent some time trying to put on paper, the reason why I do what I do. Now previously I’ve written about why I went into ministry, but this was different. I wanted to dig deep and get to the driving force behind everything I do. I had been in a bit of a rut and found myself bouncing from idea to idea, and with too many purposes and too many voices pulling me in many different directions. I was exhausted. I needed to focus and get back to my passion in life and rediscover the joy of waking up in the morning with a clear sense of why I was getting out of bed.
I found Simon Sinek’s book, “Find Your Why,” to be an excellent resource in this endeavor. I went through the exercises in the book to explore my life and experiences, and after several hours of reading, writing, exploration, and perhaps a sip of whiskey, I was able to write a clear and concise statement framing my “why.” Reading Sinek’s book allowed me to cut through the many layers and arenas of my life to find my guiding principle, the thing that motivates and inspires me. Once I put that statement to paper, I have felt better equipped to align myself to that golden thread that weaves through my life and connects my passions, decisions, and actions together.
Now every individual and every organization has an underlying why, whether they realize it or not. Churches, businesses, schools, pastors, and laypeople all have a “why,” that reason for getting up and getting after it. Using Sinek’s model, it’s phrased using the following format: “To ________ so that_________.” That first blank represents the contribution you make to the lives of others and the second blank represents the impact of your contribution.
It is a subtle, yet important thing that Sinek connects our “why” to contributions towards other people. It is not a “me focused” reason to get up and get after it, but rather, outwardly focused on the edification of others.
Now the process for figuring out what goes in those blanks takes time and effort. It’s useful to converse with another person and go through all the steps that Sinek offers (which means you might have to buy his book). It could even be beneficial to pour a cocktail during the exploration process to assist with the memory prompt steps. And in the end, you have a statement that you can refer to as you plan your year, set goals, make decisions, and get after it each day. As an added perk, when we can communicate that “why” to others, they connect with us in deeper ways.
In Mark 1:29-39, Jesus declares His “why.” He doesn’t quite follow Sinek’s format for making such a statement, but it’s not that far off. “Let’s go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may also preach there; for this is why I came” (Mark 1:38).
The Gospels are filled with “why” statements from Jesus. The miracles are easy to remember and most folks know what sorts of things Jesus did; how He traveled through Israel accomplishing great signs and wonders. But Jesus was sent to bring the kingdom reign of God to all. He was sent to restore and reconcile God and His fallen, broken, sinful creation. When Jesus read Scripture in His hometown, He read from the prophet Isaiah and declared that He was sent by God to preach the Gospel, to proclaim freedom to captives, to set free the oppressed, and to proclaim the favor of God. After reading these words from the prophet, He simply declared that those words were now being fulfilled in their midst.
Jesus was revealing and executing His “why.” But the people wanted signs and wonders. They were so enthralled by the miracles and what Jesus could do for them in the here and now, that they missed out on the words of the prophet which declared that Jesus came to proclaim God’s favor to all people! That’s Jesus’ “why”! In Christ, God has come down to His people, not to destroy them, but to restore them and bring His eternal blessing upon creation!
And Jesus came to preach! He came proclaiming the Kingdom Reign of God. He called people to repent, to turn away from their sins, and then delivered the gospel to them – the good news that restores humanity to God also restores people to each other.
Even Jesus’ resurrection plan for growing His church would not be based on miracles, flashy displays, or measurable accounting. His plan was and still is the authoritative proclamation of His Word and the delivery of His gifts of eternal life – baptism, confession and absolution, and the Lord’s Supper.
After Jesus’ death and resurrection, He finds His disciples gathered in fear. He calls a huddle and tells them, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” So, just like God the Father sent Jesus, He now sends out His disciples. His “why,” becomes the church’s “why.”
So how did the Father send Jesus? Well, He sent Jesus to proclaim the kingdom reign of God and to preach the gospel. To deliver the good news that God, in Christ is reconciling the world to Himself! The command from our Lord is to go and take this authoritative Word of God and proclaim it to all people so that they would believe and be saved! That was Jesus’ mission. It was His “why!” It was also the mission of His disciples. It is the church’s mission. It is our mission.
As people redeemed by God, we get to deliver the Kingdom Reign of God to others! And we do it in the word proclaimed! It is a kingdom reign which was purchased and won with the blood of Christ, a kingdom reign in which repentance and forgiveness is proclaimed.
Christ’s “why” is wrapped up in the proclamation of God’s kingdom reign and delivering that to you. For us and all creation, this proclamation results in life and salvation for all who believe. In fact, you could say that you are the reason behind Jesus’ “why.” He was born, He lived, died, rose, and ascended into heaven, so that you would have eternal life!
For you who are in Christ, your ultimate fulfillment is found in Jesus. You are His why, and He is yours! And your life, hidden with Him, guides and direct everything you do and everything you are.