Welcome to Welling: for your spiritual health and growth. We are in a very important series which totally overwhelms life, which can help you overcome life. It is the very reason you are a human being, as to why God has placed you on the planet.
We’re talking about humanity. Humans ask the word and pursue the question, “Why.” The machines in your life don’t ask that question. The animals don’t ask the question why. It’s a uniquely human matter. The word why not only keeps you from being a mere brute or an obedient machine most of the time, which you don’t understand nor can fully exploit. But a why question will keep you from going nowhere, at least unintentionally going nowhere.
During the height of the pandemic, one of the world’s luxury airlines called Singapore Airlines advertised flights to nowhere, along with other small countries, where travel starved citizens wanted to get out of the place. Because of environmental concerns they canceled those flights. Instead, opened up a superjumbo for people to dine in. They would come in and order business class and first class meals at an exorbitant price. They could even have those meals delivered to their houses. Flights to nowhere didn’t make sense, not even economic sense.
Why keeps you from going back and forth, back and forth, or anywhere and everywhere. Everything looks and sounds equally exciting, equally competing.
Buddha Air, which is a small airline operating out of Nepal, they say it has altitude sickness, but also attitude sickness. When recently one of the flights landed up in the wrong place, they attempted to analyze the problem and their chief operations officer was upset. He says, “We try to give the best, most comfortable experience–that either our ground force put the passengers on the wrong flight or the pilots had the wrong flight plans.” Of course, they quickly corrected and came back to what should be the original destination, because in Nepal, there are very few little windows open for landings and takeoffs in the middle of bad weather and poor visibility.
So how can you be protected from going nowhere and elsewhere and keeping misdirected back and forth here and there? Well, there is a protection, if you answer the why question well. Human beings understand the importance of the why question, so that an entire industry has grown around helping people find their purpose, their mission.
Every company seems to have a purpose statement, and they should, because we need to know our destination. There are even chief purpose officers, they call them “???????????,” like Illuminati. They’re there to be sure that a company keeps on track to where it is supposed to be going.
Recently, they began to conclude–and I say that very carefully as a phrase–because they say life purposes actually have health outcomes, including decreasing mortality. And Israeli researchers said recently the new analysis found that those whose psychological questionnaires reflected a lack of purpose were more likely to die than those who had a self-organizing life that stimulates goals, a life aim that stimulates goals.
Now, that’s true, that if you have a life aim that stimulates goals, you will be more purposeful, you will be more active, more energetic. But it is not that they are less likely to die, or if you don’t have a goal, that you are more likely to die. Everyone is quite likely to die. Death is the big equalizer. No one gets out of it. So why? Is the word purpose, is a mission, worthwhile? It is to be appropriate in its object and its destination and adequate in its purpose. Otherwise, it’ll be totally empty. It will not be worth living, even though you may live very, very long.
Friedrich Nietzsche, the atheist German philosopher who had significant problems with the Christian faith, nevertheless had a statement which is impregnated with wisdom. This is how it goes. He who has a why to live for, can bear almost any how.
It’s a meaning of life question, isn’t it, because your purpose gives you meaning of life. Your mission gives meaning to life. Now, in business literature, I have read about how every mission needs to have at least two elements–four, five, six, seven, many elements–who you are, what you want to be, what you want to do, how your purpose needs to be inspirational and aspirational and memorable, even poetic, to give it a spark into your life and the life of your company.
But I want to share with you that the simple meaning of the word “why” is why. The meaning of the word mission is not merely what you do every day, but why you do what you do every day. What brings meaning to life gives you the meaning of life, or, as the French say, the raison d’etre. The reason for being. The reason for existence. The reason for all activity.
I have written and spoken a bit about this question in a series of books called The Intentional Life. The talk that I did called, “Why Are You Here?” brought in a huge amount of response. In fact, if you came to my office, you’ll find my why statement. It is already etched on my tombstone. It has a who, it has a what, it has a why, it has a where. And of course, a when, because it’s within my lifetime.
My why includes a who. It simply reads, “A spokesman for the Sovereign Savior worldwide.” Who by whom? That’s me. For whom? To whom? That’s the Sovereign Savior. What? A spokesman. And where? Worldwide. When? During the course of my lifetime. It’s about Him through me. It’s about Him through you.
You see, my friend, the creator’s glory is reflected, already reflected in nature. That’s verses one and two of Psalm eight. But from verses three on, he’s challenging us to radiate the Creator of glory; that just because you’re human, the Creator expects glory from us. Human. That’s you. That’s me. That’s why.