Harvard psychologist, Ellen Langer, conducted some research about the power of the word because. She had someone approach the person at the front of a queue of people waiting at a photocopier. The person simply stated that she was in a rush and asked if she could use the photocopier. Sixty per cent of the time the person at the front of the queue complied with the request. She then repeated the experiment, only this time the person asked if she could photocopy because she was in a rush. Amazingly ninety-four per cent of the time the person at the front of the queue complied with the request. What is even more amazing was that when the experiment was repeated again and the because changed to “because I need to make photocopies”, the request was successful ninety-three per cent of the time.
Research like this never can be absolutely perfect. The huge difference, however, between the results attained when because was used and when it was not used, tell us something about the power of having a reason for our actions and how that can influence others.
There are becauses all over the Bible – about 1586 if you search for because in the NIV search engine on BIble Gateway!
In Luke 4.43, Jesus says:
‘I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.’
The research mentioned above demonstrated the power of because in influencing others. However, sometimes the person that we most need to influence is ourselves.
Jesus came preaching the good news of the kingdom of God. He did what He did for one very clear reason: because that is why I was sent. His life and ministry was rooted deeply in His sense of being sent by the Father.
Why are we doing what we are doing? Why are you serving God? Why are you following Jesus? What would stop you serving? What would stop you following?
They’re not the sort of questions that should preoccupy us. Being continually perplexed about our motives is not a godly thing. Even Paul said he didn’t judge himself (1 Corinthians 4.3). Occasionally, though, we need to ask ourselves the tougher questions that do challenge our motives. The only good reason for serving, living a godly life, for prayer, study, etc., is Jesus. It is all about Him. Yes, there are other good reasons. But the primary reason that we live the way we do is – or at least should be – because of Jesus.
Feeling like quitting? Feeling things are a bit tough? Disillusioned? Disappointed? Wondering if it’s worth it all? Strengthen your because.
I’ll leave you with Peter’s quote from king David:
David said about him: ‘“I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken. Acts 2.25