Whys and Therefores

"Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent." (John 6:29)

"Therefore" is one of my favorite words. It shows something. It leads into the speaker's intended point. The one built upon the preceding explanation. It's a word of action and sometimes, finality. In math, it's symbolized by three dots arranged like an equilateral triangle. Very cool. The Latin word for "therefore" is ergo. Use that to make a point if you want to sound smart. Just make sure you actually have something that merits the usage of "ergo". If you don't think that it'll come across or be appreciated, use "therefore".

As "therefore" is an adverb, we know that it's a word that is used to modify verbs. To give direction to action and therefore help it along. In the Bible, the word "therefore" shows up many times to inform us how God would have us do a thing. It might appear several hundred times throughout but let's look at a couple of the ways that it's used (in the King James) to qualify action.

"Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." (Romans 3:28) What Paul just explained, in the verses prior, was that not only had every human sinned and been found guilty of breaking His laws, but that Jesus Christ was the one who fulfilled everything that His Father laid out for the human race. Only, He did it with the right heart attitude, one of love for His Father. By faith as opposed to a strict and lifeless (and loveless) morality. When Paul says that "we conclude that a man is justified...", understanding Jesus' death brings out the understanding also that we can stop trying to be good to gain something we know we'll never obtain. God's favor has already been won by Jesus. What Jesus did by dying on the cross actually allows us to understand that God is a God of love, not just judgment. Oh, He's both, don't kid yourself. Choose one. But be sure and make an informed decision.

"I call heaven and earth to record this day against you , that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:" (Deuteronomy 30:19, emphasis mine)

So, the word ergo from the Latin, means "therefore". The prefix "ergo-", however, means "work". An ergometer is a device that records the work a muscle performs when it contracts. Ergonomics is a branch of engineering that deals with the working conditions of people in order to make those conditions easier. Seen from this angle, it's almost like "therefore" means "get to work".

Humility is right up there with love and belief as a heart-action. Actions on the outside can be performed for any number of reasons. God looks on the heart though. The love and humility that we show Him will determine both the effectiveness and the longevity of our outward actions. Look at what Peter says:

"Likewise, ye younger, submit youselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5) This idea is expressed the same but with different words when Paul says "in lowliness of mind, let each esteem other better than themselves." (Philippians 2:3b). It means to love everyone and consider their needs before our own. A caveat: don't neglect the things you need to do for yourself so that you can be there for others. Going back to what Peter said, about God giving grace to the humble, check this out: "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time." (1 Peter 5:5, emphasis mine) It can be hard to humble ourselves. But it's the only way that God can and will promote us. The harder we work, in humility, the more God can do through us. We must never lose sight of the love and justification of Jesus, and His humility that we need to go from one position to another. "Therefore" is indeed a humble little word with a heavy cross to bear.

In closing, a minor aside. The suffix -there means "beast". As in beast of burden?

Get to work!