Why do you do what you do? Often our actions take on a selfish look. We go to the gym to get bigger, cut carbs to lose weight, read self help books to become our own personal super hero. But there has to be more in the background driving us to do what we do. There has been a few big steps in my life that have the surface appearance of possibly being inward focussed. But when I look under the surface and dig a bit deeper, there was reasons for my actions that extended far beyond my own existence. Here are a few examples:
- Getting a knee replacement. Several years ago I chose to have my knee replaced. Years of arthritis and pain caught up to me and I was becoming more and more limited in what I could and could not do professionally. I was working as a youth pastor and needed to have high energy levels and less pain to keep up with my duties. At the same time working on the foundation steps of church planting. Working around the clock to make sure that both of these positions received my full attention added to the stress. Then adding into the mix, we had our first child. A very busy and amazing boy. On the surface the reason I needed to have the replacement done in this time frame was selfish. A key to professional advancement if you will. I would be able to keep up on all my duties, keeping a church board happy (as happy as a church board can be) and fueling my future mega church pastor dreams. But the truth was so much different. I remember having a conversation with the doctor years before the surgery where he asked me to let him know when I was ready to move ahead. I dug my heels in and waited. I waited for a miracle, a sign, or some natural remedy to kick in and make life better. But the day I went in for the appointment I had one reason and one reason alone in my mind. I wanted to be able to play with my children and not be limited in my relationship with them. I wanted to be as healthy as possible so that I could be the dad that they needed. I never wanted them to say “dad couldn’t be there for me because he was too sick”. I would do anything for my babies!
- Hepatitis C treatment. I had Hep C since the late 80’s. For the majority of my life I did not realize that I was experiencing symptoms of the disease. In fact my understanding from previous doctor appointments was that I was in complete remission. This was not the case. Fatigue, brain fog, depression and weight gain…they all took their toll over a 10 year window. Once I realized this was the case, I wanted to do something about it. When treatment became affordable I jumped on the opportunity! Again it looks like clearing up symptoms would help professionally, and I would be justified in wanting to do that for myself. Their is nothing wrong with wanting to be healthy! But the underlying reasons were so much more valid. You see, if the disease continues to progress and my liver becomes more damaged, there is the possibilities of cancer and complete loss of liver function. This highlights the chronic nature of my Hep C. With a hidden time limit put on life, I could not handle the thought of my two kids growing up without their dad and my wife having to go through life, dealing with every stress on her own. So my actual reason for Hep C treatment was to be strong for my family, and make sure I could build the legacy that they deserve.
- Church planting. A huge part of who Amberley and I are in ministry is based on the concepts of transformational pioneering. We are great at starting something new and finding ways for that new entity to change its surroundings through the gospel of Jesus. When I have worked in established churches and organizations I would feel a disconnect. That disconnect goes away when I am pioneering and establishing something new. Something that can be passed on to someone else that is going to carry a massive impact in the world. I have planted two young adult churches from the bottom up before beginning NHC. At the first glance it could appear that church planters plant because they think they can do better than their former churches. Often planters will say that they can do cooler and better if given the chance. That would be a terrible reason to plant a church. In fact, my experiences working in churches has been mostly positive. I have worked with and for really great pastors, I have been mentored by some of the best! One of the things I learned was to create a legacy for who comes next. So with that in mind my main reason is a bit more close to home. I wanted to establish a church that reflects the truths of scripture without the anchors of the past. A place where anyone could come and experience Jesus, no matter who they are or who they wish they were. A place that my kids are proud to attend and bring their friends. I want to build a long lasting house that is being Jesus to our city and world. A house that is more concerned with people that need hope than those who are wasting it.
Think about Jesus. Jesus did everything for us. He made a way to be relieved of our sin and experience the Holy Spirit without being spiritually elite. He was working in the background for others. In a short sense, he worked hard for his disciples, training them to take on the world. In a long term look, Jesus fought for us and made sure we were equipped and well resourced with what we would need. Jesus truly acted like a father through those actions of setting us up for the future. Jesus cured and healed for the sick and broken not to build his ministry cv. He built his church on a contagious faith not a limiting fear.
In my life I want to make sure I am here to take care of my kids for as long as possible. I want to make sure that my hours and days are building a legacy that can be carried into a new decade. I want to make sure that my actions and motivations are geared towards them and others and never myself. I don’t ever want to be too busy being a professional pastor that I forget to be a dad. Being me at home is my first priority, but I am who I am at work so that hope will exist for what’s at home.
Even though we do things that seem self-centred at first, there is always another reason underneath. Before we assume what someones motivations are, let’s make the first assumption that we only see what we see, and what we see is almost nothing. More importantly, start strategically building your own background legacy.
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