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Asking the ‘Why’

Why is the sun hot? Why must I take a bath? Why can’t I do it by myself? Anyone who has worked with preschoolers understands that their inquisitive minds want a lot of answers. Helping children have age-appropriate understanding is important. Teachers know that understanding the “why” can build knowledge and trusting relationships.

Jesus knows that we are often like children who need to learn basic lessons. He repeatedly asks His followers the why questions, helping them think deeply about their own beliefs, words, and actions. Seven times in Matthew’s Gospel Jesus asks “Why?” His “whys” are often followed by a “what” question because the why often reveals the what. Both questions, when asked together, reveal man’s need.

In Matthew 6:25–34, Christ teaches by asking both why and what: “And why do you worry about clothes? . . . So do not worry saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’” (Vv. 28–31). Jesus explains that just as God clothes the flowers with splendor, He also cares for the needs of His children. God is our heavenly Father who sees and cares for our needs. Asking this simple why question Jesus teaches us what is important: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (v. 33).

At times I fail to ask questions out of concern that I might offend someone or perhaps because the situation is none of my business. However, Christ calls us to be lovingly involved in one another’s “business” by asking important questions that lead people to a personal knowledge of Him. He knows that we, like preschoolers, need direction and guidance.

>> Pay attention to the open doors to conversations that God might be placing in front of you. Be ready to ask the “why” and “what” questions that will help others have a greater understanding of God’s work in their lives.

BY Mary Martin, Former Professor of Christian School Education

Dr. Mary Martin previously served at Moody as program head of Christian School Education and chair of the Education and Counseling division. She has also served as a classroom teacher, principal, and head of school. Mary is the author of Impacting Student Learning through Christ-Centered Instructional Leadership and currently resides in North Carolina with her husband, Michael. She speaks at numerous education conferences each year and loves mentoring Moody graduates.

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