Why, What, How

April 30, 2019

Jude 3

Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people.


Today my three daughters are ages ten, eight, and four… which means for almost a decade I’ve lived in the age of “Why Daddy?” 

“I want you to turn off the tv.” “Why Daddy?” “So you can come eat your dinner.” “Why?” “So you can go to bed?” “Why?” “Because you need your sleep.” “Why?” 

And even though I said I would never do it, I often become my parents and default to the dreaded, “Because I said so.” 

But did you notice that in this classic daddy-daughter litany I’ve only told her what I want her to do. And as the debate continues I’ll tell her how I want her to do it: (i.e. “Sit down, stop talking, and put food in your mouth”).

But in my impatience, I often don’t answer her why. If I let her keep pushing, the why becomes “Because you need to eat well and get sleep,” which becomes “Because your body is growing and you need nutrients and rest,” which becomes, “So you grow up healthy,” which really is all a way of saying, “Because I love you.”

The key to effective parenting (and pastoring, leadership, or just living life) is about finding the why. It’s one thing to say what you want to do and how you want to do it. But why? Finding the why helps better determine the what and the how (learn more about this here)

For example:  What do you do? You pray to Jesus. How? Maybe a quiet time in the morning or group liturgy at church. But why do you pray? Answer that and your prayer life will change. 

Why, what, and how is the key to Jude’s little letter to a small group of friends. He starts today by giving us the what: “defend the faith.” In the Message, Eugene Peterson translates Jude’s what as “to guard and cherish” the faith.


Tomorrow we’ll begin to look at why we need to guard and cherish the faith. It will take us a few days to go through it, but stick with it. It’s just as important today as it was then. And at the end, Jude will give us the how (hint: it’s not the way you’d think).

Until then let’s prepare our hearts because, according to Jesus’ little brother, defending the faith is what “God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people.” That includes you and me.


Jesus, give me more and more mercy, peace, and love so I can know the why, what, and how of your will. Amen.


If you know the what and the how you follow Jesus, could you tell another person why?

For the awakening,
Omar Al-Rikabi

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