Last month I was privileged to ride for a week with three other men on the Ohio to Erie Trail (OTET), beginning at the Ohio River in Cincinnati and pedaling all the way north to Cleveland (though I had to bail out at Akron, due to previous commitments). It was a great ride, and I highly commend the OTET to anyone who hasn’t ridden it before. But, oh, was it HOT, with afternoon temps of 90-95° every day! And I have to admit that more than once, as I was chugging slowly up a hill with sweat stinging my eyes, I found myself wondering, Why on earth am I doing this?!

Then, on Wednesday evening, one of the other guys (who went nickname “Fletch”) helped me figure it out.

Earlier that afternoon, we had rolled into Mount Vernon to set up camp in the backyard of a man named Randy, who is part of the Warm Showers network. Randy has also biked over 250,000 miles in his lifetime, so it was great hearing about some of his many touring experiences. But it got even better when two other cyclists – a couple from Western France who were touring the U.S. – arrived on their tandem bike, and for the next couple of hours we sat around devouring pizza, sharing stories, and just getting to know each other.

Later that evening, as we were about to bed down for the night, I was talking with Fletch about how delightful the last couple of hours had been. His response was simply, “This is why we do it.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about that simple comment in the last few weeks, because it seems to me that it doesn’t apply only to biking, but to our faith lives as well. You see, it’s one thing to just hammer out miles on a bike, but it’s another to see biking as a tool for growing deeper relationships and opening doors of better understanding.

In a similar way, it’s one thing to just go through our religious routines – attending worship, singing songs, making a casserole for the church potluck – but it’s another to have a compelling sense of WHY we do it.

So, what’s YOUR “why”? If you don’t have a good answer, may I suggest that 1 Corinthians 10:31 might be a good place to start?

It seems that, back in the apostle Paul’s day, some of the new Christians in Corinth, Greece (of both Jewish and non-Jewish background) were getting a little upset that occasionally some people were bringing to their church potlucks food that had recently been offered to pagan idols. So, after offering some carefully worded guidance about how to navigate such delicate matters, Paul summarizes his advice as follows :

So, whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.

How might your life be different if this were your answer to “why we do it” – in other words, if everythingyou did, from pedaling a bike to brushing your teeth, was done to the glory of God? If you’d like to find out, would you pray with me please?

Loving God, I want to live my life knowing WHY, and I want my why to be YOU. So, help me this day, and every day, to live for your glory. In everything I do, may people see Jesus in me, that they might be drawn closer to Him. For it’s in His name I pray. Amen

Dave Marty is a retired pastor who lives with his wife, Mary, in Brownsburg, Indiana. They have two beautiful daughters, two great sons-in-law, and two creative teenage grandchildren. In addition to cycling (including unicycling), Dave also enjoys gardening, Scrabble, hosting Holy Land tours with Mary, and tutoring kindergarteners at a nearby school