Ps Tan Hui Ru

“Why” Matters

A common description of Singaporeans is that we are a very pragmatic and task-oriented people, concerned more about outcomes than about reasons. After all, all the good intentions in the world will not feed you. And what does it matter why your boss wants something done? You’re not being paid to understand but to do! But when we do things without understanding why we’re doing it, we attribute wrong reasons, we lose sight of the big picture, and eventually, possibly, we go down the wrong path entirely. That’s why it’s imperative for us to understand the why in our Christian discipleship.

Take Christian spiritual disciplines, for example. Why do we practice these? Why do we tell each other to spend time reading the Bible, perhaps even memorise portions of it? There are a number of possible answers here. Here’s an example of a reason that sounds correct but is problematic: we need to know the Bible well because Jesus knew the Bible well and memorised it to answer the devil in Luke 4:1-13 and so we should do what Jesus did. And here’s what’s wrong with it: Jesus did a lot of other things also, including enacting miracles, flipping tables, and dying on the cross – are these all things we should also do? Another correct-sounding reason: we need to know the Bible well because this is something all Christians do so if you don’t then you aren’t a Christian. And here’s what’s wrong with it: is our salvation is based on the things we do? Yet Paul calls these hollow and deceptive philosophy in Col 2:8.

So why we do things matters. ORPC’s vision is “to know God and to make Him known” – this is taken from Matt 28:18-20, the Great Commission. This is the heart of why we are emphasising on discipleship and disciple-making – because God commanded us to do so, to make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything Jesus has commanded us to. May we hold true to this reason and be directed by it.