Real Help for Real Living: I got my Why, How and What in the wrong order

Anthony MarcianoI used to get in trouble with the Rescue Mission board on how I explained our work to the community when I did public speaking.  They told me, “Tell them what we do,” to which I replied, “Let me tell them why we do it.”  We couldn’t agree.  That was until a few years ago.

I watched a Ted Talk by Simon Sinek.  He draws three circles, each within the other (think of a bullseye). The outer circle represents the “What” you do; what a company makes.  The middle circle represents the “How” the product is made.  The inner, or smallest circle represents the “Why.”  More than making a profit, why does a company exist?

He explained that Dell and Microsoft market their products by starting from the outer circle – the “What.”  They make computers.  They move to the middle circle, the “How” stating they use Intel processors.  Finally, they move to the inner circle, the “Why” by asking you to buy one.  You yawn.

Apple is different.  Apple starts with the inner circle, the “Why.”  Their “Why” is, “Everything we do challenges the status quo.”  Their middle circle, “How” states, “We invent technology you didn’t even know you needed.”  Their outer circle, the “What” is, “We package it into attractive looking products called iPhones. Do you want to buy one?”  An Apple person will camp out for three days in the snow to purchase the next iPhone.  When was the last time you saw someone camped out to purchase a Dell computer?

As a young pastor, I preached by starting at the outer circle, the “What” – God wanted to give us life eternal and life abundant.  I moved to the middle circle, the “How” this was possible – Jesus died on the cross for my sins. I never reached the inner circle, the “Why” of Christianity.  Today, I start at the inner circle.  Let me explain.

The inner circle, the “Why” of Christianity is simply this.  “God loves you and me.”  The middle circle is “How” it happens.  To make sure God can make that love relationship happen, He took care of my mess by dying on the cross.  Lastly, I move to the outer circle, the “What” – God gives me life eternal and life abundant.

I have a sermon entitled “God Loves You.”  I get to a point in the sermon where I say, “Have you ever seen a 70-year-old Billy Graham look out upon thousands of people in a stadium and say these words, “God loves you?”  To imitate Billy Graham, I divide the sanctuary into six sectors.  As I point to each sector, I say, “God loves you.”  I point to sector one and say, “God loves you.”  I point to sector two and do the same.  I repeat it at the next sector, “God loves you.”  As I approach sector four, I slow down and say, “God loves you.”  I do the same with sector five.  Then I have a very long pause.  The room is silent. No one is moving.  You can hear the lights in the sanctuary.  People are nervous as I conclude by pointing at sector six by saying “God loves you.”  I can almost hear the congregation say back to me, “Tell us we messed up.  Tell us what we need to do, who we need to serve, what we need to give.  But don’t tell us “God loves me.”  I’ll do things for God but He could never love me.”

I hope you see the “Why” – God loves you.

I’ll be back in two weeks.  Until then, live well my friend.