BY JON PAUSLEY - OKOBOJI BIBLE CONFERENCE MINISTRIES
You may be familiar with Ted Talks. They are short and powerful talks on various topics given to spread ideas. In the early days of Ted Talks, before visual appealing technology became standard, a man named Simon Sinek spoke on the topic "Start with Why." His premise is that corporations and companies need to first answer the question: "Why?" Why do we do what we do?
Sinek presents the problem for most corporations and businesses is that they start with "what" they do and "how" they do it rather than "why" they do it. Sinek simply states, "People do not buy what you do, they buy why you do it."
He makes a good point, but this is not new information. The writers of the New Testament knew this to be true as well.
The problem that people of faith often run into is that we start with "what" and "how." What does it look like to follow Jesus? What do I need to do? How do I do it better? The issue with starting with "what" and "how" is that we miss the point. A walk of faith is not a checklist and to-do list. A walk of faith is a life lived in response to the love that has been given to humanity in Jesus Christ.
The writers of the New Testament letters, called epistles, started with "why." The letters are front-loaded with reminders of the love, grace and forgiveness of God. Paul writes in Ephesians that God has lavished on us the riches of his grace. (Ephesians 1:7-8) Peter writes in I Peter that God has given us a living hope and has an inheritance waiting for us that is imperishable, undefiled and is reserved in heaven. (I Peter 1:3-4) The "how" and the "what" for people of faith is not given in these epistles until after the “why”.
Why do people of faith try to live like Jesus? The "why" is because of the love, grace and forgiveness of God found in Jesus Christ.
Simon Sinek wisely pointed out a pattern. When businesses begin with "what" and "how" they lose the soul of the business and consumers notice. It is easy to do in business, in relationships and in life. We go through motions, calendars, schedules and commitments. We lose sight of "why" we do what we do. That same pattern easily transfers to our walk of faith. It is a valuable use of time to simply remember the "why" of the Christian faith. Remembering the "why" will give a fresh spark to the practical "what" and "how." The "what" and "how" are important, but they must be constantly informed by the "why."
Start with "why."