We are often really good at telling people what they need to do, but we often fail to adequately communicate why they should do it. The end result is that these people are left feeling disinterested and disengaged regarding the Christian life.
We cannot tell people what they should do without explaining why they should do it!
For example, in the days of their exodus from Egypt, the children of Israel received instructions from God regarding the Passover. The moment of the Passover was to be remembered by the twelve tribes of Israel each year. Their regular remembrance of the Passover commemorated their freedom from Egyptian oppression and signified that they were God’s sanctified people. As recorded in Exodus 12, the Lord God first revealed these matters to Moses and Aaron. The Passover involved:
- The selection of a “lamb without blemish” on the tenth day of the first month
- A twilight sacrifice of that chosen lamb on the fourteenth day
- The sprinkling of its blood on the doorposts
- A prohibition of leaven and strict diet of only consuming unleavened bread
- A meticulously prepared meal
- A meticulously selected attire
- Two workless days during the feast of holy assemblies
- And even more (cf. Num. 28:16-25)…
Might all of this, for one who was not alive during the Passover, seem a bit strange? Sure. So, when God commanded Israel to “observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever,” it stood to reason that future Israelite generations needed to understand why they too should observe the Passover. Anticipating future questions, Moses told them,
And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.’ (Exodus 12:26-27a).
Understanding why someone does things religiously matters, doesn’t it?
Let’s face it. Much of what we do in the Lord’s church seems a bit strange to people (1 Pet. 4:4). They do not understand why we love God, have repented from our sins, pray together, sing together, give, etc… On and on we could go. As long as these people fail to understand the motivations for Christian living they will never come to appreciate the Christian life. Let’s recognize this and be proactive to adequately convey our motivations with others.