When I was a child, I asked a lot of questions… Like, too many. My parents tell me stories of how my family would give me things and do anything it took to get me to stop asking so many questions. And like most kids, my favorite question to ask was, “Why?”
While we all get annoyed when children ask why 100 times, it is a really interesting question when you think about it. You aren’t asking the purpose of something, but the reason behind it. Asking why is really one of the more important questions we can ask.
This doesn’t really fit our culture, however. We don’t often ask the reason behind things, but we ask about the things. Too often, we don’t care about the reason. We ask people how they are, but we don’t care about the answer… we want to know what they are feeling, but not why they are feeling that.
Think about asking someone about their job… we often ask them what they do, but not why they do it. This is a symptom of a bigger problem, in my opinion. We have lost our sense of purpose. We allow people to identify with what they do without even thinking about the reasons behind it. Purpose is born out of the why, not the what.
I don’t know all of your stories about purpose, but I know mine, so I’ll share it. As of January, I quit my full-time, salary job in order to go back to school. I am a full-time student and I am also a bank teller. I am not taking any upper-level classes, but instead, I am taking general ed classes (my class for summer is public speaking… can I test out of it?). I find myself doing hours of homework for classes I don’t care to be taking, an spending my lunch breaks doing homework. That’s my what. If all I had was the what, I would be miserable. I am always tired, always carrying a little stress, and don’t have too much down time.
Luckily, I know my why.
I believe God has put me on this planet to serve the church in full-time ministry. I know my giftedness (post coming soon about giftedness), and I know that God has put me on this earth to use my gifts. I know my why, and because of that, I enjoy every step of this process. Now, while there are times of discouragement and even doubt, I can put my head down and complete my what (school and work) because of my why (ministry). And ultimately, my why is to use my life to point people to Jesus.
Whether you know your purpose of not, as followers of Christ, we are all on this planet living because of our why. In the words of the apostle Peter, “As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). Jesus died for us, and thats our why. We do everything we do because of everything He did. We do everything to point people to Him.
I don’t know your story, but I know this: God has a purpose for your life. each of us has a what, but my question is this: do you know your why? Do you know why you do what you do? If you go through every day not understanding your why, your what can consume you. However, knowing your why will empower you and push you through the hard times of what you do.
Don’t think about what you do, but focus on why. I’ll leave you with the words of the apostle Paul about knowing your why:
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17).
Trust the Process. Take your next step. Now is your moment.