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Guided By Why


By Deacon Tammy Devine

ELCA Wellness Manager
October 2017

Jesus said to him, Why do you call me good? Mark 10:18

Before we took a week-long road trip with our 9-year-old grandson Grady this summer, I wondered if his habit of asking questions would become too much. To my surprise, I discovered our conversations were fun, even if they were a bit challenging at times. Each time Grady asked why? I had the opportunity to share what I believed, express my perspective, and hear what he was thinking. Our relationship grew as we came to more deeply understand one another.

In his book Start with Why, Simon Sinek shares that why questions are compelling because they get at our emotions. As leaders we often ask what: what can we do to increase church attendance, what will inspire generosity, what can we preach, teach, learn … Those questions are important as we provide direction for the church. But why gets at the heart of being a servant of Jesus. It involves listening for the Spirit’s unique calling in our lives. It is often connected to our story. And when we know that story, our mission, direction, goals, and focus take on a deeper, more significant meaning.

With Grady’s voice echoing in my head, I began to reflect on my own story: Why am I committed to championing wellness in the ELCA? Because I believe our church is stronger when its leaders are healthy. Why? So we have the energy to share the gospel. Why? So God’s love is shared with everyone. Why? So loving one another drives our behaviors, choices, and interactions. Why? So we can live in peace, allowing each other to be our best selves, and so together we become the full body of Christ in our world.

As you consider your ministry, I encourage you to ponder why you do what you do. Then, let that why guide you as you carefully steward your time, talents, energy, and passion.

Tammy Devine's monthly reflection invites you to consider how your faith and health are intertwined. She shares her personal journey to help support you in new ways as you strive to live well in Christ — for the sake of ministry in God's world. ELCA organizations, feel free to print or link to Tammy’s reflections in your publications.

Since joining Portico in 2004, Tammy has provided whole-person health promotion, education, and inspiration to ELCA rostered leaders and lay employees. Contact Tammy Devine at

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