It’s a simple question, but it can be a powerful one. By asking “Why?”, we can examine our motives, our intentions, our goals, and even our mistakes. We can use this question to pull a string and find the root of the problem or to guide a discussion about the goals for an organization. Or we can use this question to understand ourselves.
Asking the question “Why?” opens our eyes to the intent behind our actions. We find in the Scriptures that intent is very important to God. Consider the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. When praying, the Pharisee chose to do so publicly and loudly (Luke 18: 9-14). His intent was not to call out to God, his intent was to proclaim to those around him his own righteousness. The tax collector, on the other hand, stood in the corner and cried out to God. He did not seek the attention of others but earnestly repented and sought forgiveness. In Luke 18:14, Christ stated: “I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Here Christ just said that the reviled tax collector was justified and the Pharisee was not justified. Tax collectors were despised by the Jewish people as collaborators. They were viewed with hate and distrust. Yet despite this, Christ held his prayer up as one that was received by the Father. How can this be? It was not that his prayer was worded better than the Pharisee’s. The tax collector’s fine clothes did not make his prayer better. It was a matter of his heart. The tax collector called out for forgiveness because he was repentant. The Pharisee prayed to be heard by men, not by God. The “Why” of what each did mattered.
Let’s bring this to the context of Small Groups. So you want to be in a small group? Why do you want to be in one? Do you want to be sharpened by other believers, as Scriptures tells us to in Proverbs 27:17? Do you want to find another path to grow closer to our fellow believers at Trinity? We must ask ourselves “Why?” to understand and see if there are selfish intents to what we are doing. Even if we are acting in a selfish way, that is not an excuse to not get involved or join a small group. Understanding the intent of our action is important so that we know how to grow, how to improve, and how to mature in our walk with Christ.
In the same way, those who wish to lead a small group must examine their reasons as well. Small group leaders are not a replacement for the pastors. They are not responsible for having all the answers. They are not there to dictate, but rather facilitate. Small group leaders are there to encourage the discipleship process, both with themselves and with the group. In order to accomplish this effectively, those seeking to serve as leaders must examine themselves and be aware of their intentions and goals.
We all have intentions for the actions we take. We must ask ourselves “Why?” to understand our intentions. It does not mean we don’t do the right thing, it means we strive to do the right thing for the right reasons.