I was viewing a TED talk the other day that one of our parents shared with me. It was Simon Sinek in 2009 who was speaking on the topic of what motivates people to get involved. He focused on a concept called the golden circle where there are two rings and a center to the circle. In the outer ring is the question, "What do we do?" In the middle is the question, "How do we do what we do?" In the center is the question, "Why do we do how and what we do?" He stressed the value of starting in the center and working to the outside of the circle rather than the other way around to garner the participation and understanding of others.
It would seem that Jesus modeled this concept well for his disciples. One example is in the moments after Jesus fed the five thousand. The disciples wanted to continue living on the level of what Jesus did, they wanted him to continue feeding and providing for daily needs. Some, I imagine, would have even asked how he did it (not that it is recorded in the sciptural account). Jesus, however, wanted to talk to them about why he was doing what he was doing. It mattered to him that they knew he came to fulfill the sciptures and bear witness to the Father. He wanted them to realize that they could do so much more through the power of God than what they were yet willing to see.
How were the disciples lives transformed as they continued to listen and comprehend why Jesus did what he did? I think of Thomas who needed some of the "how" question answered before believing, but ultimately he followed Jesus as his risen Lord and Savior. As the disciples became apostles (because they had been with Jesus from his baptism to his ascension), they grew in their abilities to grow and serve the newly formed Church. Peter preached to a large crowd on the day of Pentecost and "about three thousand were added to their number that day" (Acts 2:41 ). They also "performed many signs and wonders among the people" (Acts 5:12 ). They certainly were empowered by God in unique ways, but I also believe they could do these amazing and powerful acts because they were convinced of the "why they did what they did."
I hope to continue to be grounded in the "why I do" instead of the "how I do what I do" and the "what I do". And I hope that I can do well to communicate that I do what I do because I believe God loves me, God has saved me through Christ's death on the cross, and the Holy Spirit guides me as I turn to God for help on a daily and often on an hourly basis. My life's work is rooted in these truths and these are the impetus for how and what I do to serve others and the Church.