Day by day, more aware

Published 3:20 pm Sunday, April 3, 2022

Author and Consultant, Patrick Lencioni asks six questions to guide any organization seeking purpose. I would think any individual or church could ask the same questions.

1. Why do we exist?

2. How do we behave?

3. What do we do?

4. How will we succeed?

5. What is most important right now?

6. Who must do what?

Patrick writes: “If you can rally around clear answers to these fundamental questions — without using jargon and flowery language — you will have a better chance of having a healthy organization. Answering these questions is as difficult as it is simple. Simple because it doesn’t require great intellectual capacity or cleverness. Difficult because it requires honest dialogue and a real commitment.”

Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. (Luke 16:19)

Jesus’ story seems to be about money. But dig deeper you find a connection with Lencioni’s six questions. The rich man could benefit from wrestling with those same questions.

While Lazarus is suffering, the rich man enjoys the good life but when the rich man dies, he finds himself in hell suffering the fires of torment. Looking up, he sees Lazarus being comforted in Heaven and shouts, “Have pity! Send Lazarus with a tall cool glass of iced tea. I am in agony.”

Jesus then says, “That’ll teach you to make lots of money.”

No, no. He doesn’t say that. This goes deeper. This is more about awareness. Yes, Lazarus was poor and hungry, but the Scripture also says, he was at the rich man’s gate where he could be clearly seen. The rich man was riding through the gate, chomping on Kentucky Fried Chicken and passes by the starving Lazarus, completely unaware of what’s going on.

God is not condemning us for being healthy or wealthy or talented or highly educated or successful. God is warning us to be more aware and more vigilant about using our health, our wealth, our talents, our education, and our success to benefit others in service of Jesus Christ.

We go back to Lencioni’s six simple questions: Why do I or we exist? How do I behave? What do we do? How will I succeed? What is most important right now? Who must do what?

Our Men’s group recently discussed ways to respond to the war in Ukraine. We want to help the millions of refugees. At the same time, we are aware of people in our area impacted by higher gas and food prices. The discussion from our group led to more extensive research by Lloyd Runnett, manager of Louisa County Resource Council.

He noted: “In addition to the typical food, rent and utilities: Transportation: Many drive vehicles long past their useful life. They need repairs. Fuel: Many of our clients are suffering from this issue. The cost of fuel makes it difficult to go to work or school, get to doctor’s appointments, etc. Prescriptions: Always a problem, but now it is much worse. Home repairs: The cost to maintain a residence is through the roof. Many folks on fixed incomes are forgoing repairs.”

One unknown writer put it this way: God won’t ask what kind of car you drove, but he’ll ask how many people you offered a ride. God won’t ask how many clothes are in your closet, but he’ll ask how many you helped clothe. God won’t ask about your social status; He will ask what kind of class you displayed to others. God won’t ask about your material possessions, but he’ll ask if they dictated your life. God won’t ask about your salary, but he will ask if you compromised your character to get it.

Why do we exist? How do we behave? What do we do? How will we succeed? What is most important right now? Who must do what? May those questions guide us this week in everything we say and do.

A song from the musical Godspell: “Day by day; day by day, oh dear Lord, three things I pray: To see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, follow thee more nearly, day by day.”

My prayer? Day by day, enable me to be more aware of the needs around me Lord.

REV. LARRY E. DAVIES can be reached at larrydavies@vaumc.org.