FEATURE ARTICLE

Wednesday, June 15, 2022
ibelemedo@yahoo.com
St. Ann's, Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies
MOTIVATE PEOPLE; DO NOT MANIPULATE THEM

ur job as leaders is to motivate people not to manipulate them. Yes, sometimes these two concepts (motivation and manipulation) may appear similar, on the surface but there is a difference between motivating and manipulating people. They deal with matters of the heart. They deal more with the motives of the people, and not necessarily their actions. The actions could appear the same but the motives are very different.

Leaders have been set up by God primarily to help His people connect better with Him. Leaders were not set up to disconnect people from God. Motivating people will draw them closer to God, while manipulating people will obviously draw them away or further from God.

In Old Testament Israel, God set up three classes of anointed people; the Prophets, the Priests and the Kings (or Princes). The Prophet was there to declare "thus saith the Lord" and guide the people to follow the Lord's direction. The Priests as mediators, were to ensure that the gulf between the Lord and the people was replaced with a bridge connecting them. They were also to ensure that the law was well understood by the people, because it is by understanding the law that they can keep it.

The King was to ensure that God's law was enforced. His job was to lead the people in keeping the law. All these were designed to ensure that the people were closer to God. These people; the Prophet, the Priest and the King, were to ensure that the general masses look up to God, not look up to them, who are also men.

"And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. Now for a long season Israel hath been without (or not with) the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law."

2 Chronicles 15:1-3 (words in brackets are mine)

The above verses show the connection between the three parties. Oded, the Prophet, brought the Word of the Lord to the King, Asa. They also outlined the role of the Priests, who were to ensure that the law of God was well understood by the people, so they would obey God without excuses. It takes the proper functioning of these three (The Prophet, The Priest and The King) for the "true God" to be WITH the people. Many leaders spend more time getting the people to keep their eyes on them (the leaders) rather than on God. Leaders who did this in the Bible were assessed as having done badly, while those who pointed their people to God were assessed as having done things well. Bad leaders spend time manipulating the people, rather than motivating them.

Motivation is from the word motive; it speaks to intent. Motivation involves being able not just to get people to do something, but to get them to desire or be willing to do the thing. Hence, the thing would be done from a pure heart. Motivation therefore, goes at the heart of the people, not just at the hand of the people. If you go for people's hearts you will always have their hands. This is because people's hands generally do what is in their hearts. It is based on the scriptural principle of willingness and obedience. This is why it results in the people eating the good of the land.

"If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land." - Isaiah 1:19.

Motivation is always based on that which benefits the people. Hence, it can be described as getting people to work with you for mutual benefit; theirs and yours. People can only be motivated when they can identify with the mission or vision as benefiting them. To motivate people, godly leaders always show them how they will benefit from the project. When they can see this, their hearts go into it and they do it willingly. This is how Jesus operated. He always showed His disciples the benefits of their godly actions; Jesus would say things like;

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." - John 14:1-3.

"And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life." - Mark 10:29-30.

These were statements to motivate His disciples. Apostle Paul summarized this by saying;

"For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation." - 1 Timothy 4:8-9.

"But godliness with contentment is great gain." - 1 Timothy 6:6.

What I am alluding to is that motivation always points to the benefit for the one being motivated. David was motivated to fight Goliath when he found out what would be given to the man who killed him. Even our Lord Jesus was described as being motivated to die for us because of the benefits.

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds." - Hebrews 12:1-3.

Jesus Christ instructed Apostle John to write to the seven Churches in Asia, motivating them to succeed by emphasizing the benefits that will accrue to them if they overcame.

"…To him that overcometh will I give…" - Revelation 2:7.

"He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." - Revelation 2:11.

"He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels." - Revelation 3:5.

"Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name." - Revelation 3:12.

"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." - Revelation 3:21.

It is evident that the key to godly motivation is consequential benefits. People are motivated to do something, when they can connect with the benefits of doing that thing. As long as people can see how it benefits them, they are motivated. However, as long as they cannot see how it benefits them, they are hardly motivated. This is not being selfish; it is simply accepting the reality of how things operate.

We are even called upon to believe in and receive Jesus Christ because of the benefits to us.

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." - John 1:12.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - John 3:16.

Over and over it is evident that motivation points to the one being motivated; it is designed for the mutual benefit of the motivator (who's motive is already presumed to be right) and the motivated (who's motive has been presumably made right).

Manipulation is different from motivation because manipulation is simply based on that which is done. It focuses simply on getting things done. The heart condition of the doer is usually irrelevant; it is all about what we can see or get done. It is primarily focused on the result required by the manipulator, irrespective of how it affects the manipulated.

The manipulator is simply interested in bringing people together to accomplish his/her own purpose. It is primarily always for the benefit of the manipulator and never really for the benefit of those who are or have been enlisted for the job, by him/her. This is why manipulation is often associated with eye-service, while motivation is associated with heart-service. God dislikes eye-service;

"Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him." - Ephesians 6:5-9.

This eye-service is also because manipulators (as can be seen from the scripture above) often use threats to accomplish their goals, while motivators use godly persuasion. This is also why manipulators breed men-pleasers, while motivators breed God-pleasers. The above verses also show us that the manipulator sees himself/herself as the ultimate master, while the motivator sees God as the ultimate master.

This is also because manipulation skips an important step in godly accomplishments. This step which is evident in motivation involves improving relationships and it therefore embraces matters of the heart. Hence, motivation deals with making sure that whatever we do in relation to the Kingdom of God, is done from or with a pure and willing heart.

To properly motivate people can take some time, as we need to get their hearts involved. This requires "patient - godly" persuasion. Manipulators are not patient enough to deal with this step so, they generally skip it.

They simply focus on what is to be done. Note that trying to engage people's motives will require that we understand those people better. This is what motivators do; they take the time to connect with their team members and build lasting relationships. Manipulators do not have the time to engage their team in a meaningful way. For them it is all about getting the job done. They mask their inability to relate properly with the impression that they are simply trying to be professional.

Godly success requires that we are not only professional but also relational. This is why manipulators skip this vital step of ensuring that the motives of the team members are right. You are not properly motivated, if your motive is not right.

Beloved, do not skip this vital step of ensuring that every motive is godly, when motivating people. With motivation, all parties win, but with manipulation only the manipulator wins.

With motivation there is a collaborative effort because there is a shared vision. However, with manipulation there can be cooperation, but no collaboration, because the vision is simply that of the manipulator; it is never a shared one.

Motivators ensure that everyone has a slice of the pie, while manipulators can even wonder why you are not satisfied with the crumbs that fall from their table. With motivation the team is strengthened and grows, but with manipulation the team is weakened and groans.

A friend once sent me a message that stated, "motivation leads to success, while manipulation leads to distress." That really blessed me.

Beloved, God wants us to be motivators, not manipulators. Stop distressing the people around you, and be a helper of their joy. I encourage you to arise and be the motivator God has ordained you to be, in Jesus name.

May your people always embrace the spirit of willingness and obedience and may they be excited to work when you call upon them, as you function as a godly motivator in Jesus name. Amen!

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