STEP TWO: Influence - Use it!

Philemon 8-9a Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love.

1.Appeal to a higher motive.

The quickest way to get someone to do what you want is to order them. Paul begins verse 8 by reminding Philemon that he, Paul, could get what he wants by simply ordering him.

However, to be successful with this "tell people what to do” type of motivation means you need the authority and the power to execute the consequences of obeying or disobeying.

Parents use this kind of motivation with their kids all the time. And it works, sort of.

A mom and dad were grocery shopping with their 3-year-old son. The son was supposed to sit and behave himself in the shopping cart. But he kept standing up. Each time he did, one of the parents would tell him to sit down. Finally, the dad said to his little boy, "If you don't sit down we will take you out of here to the car.” Their little boy sat down, but as he did so, he muttered, "I may be sitting down on the outside, but I am standing up on the inside.”

No one likes it when someone tells them what to do. This form of motivation assumes that the one being told cannot evaluate and decide what is the best course of action and cannot be trusted to make the decision. In short, if you tell someone what to do, you are treating them like a child. Even children do not like being treated like children.

This is the authoritarian form of motivation. How well or not does this form fit your personality?

A better way to motivate is by example.

If you want your kids to love church and consistently go, then you must love church and consistently go. If you are often missing from church, finding fault with the Pastor's sermon, and constantly complaining about what church leaders do, don't be surprised if your kids, when old enough to make a decision regarding the church, stop going.

If you want your children to have a vibrant daily walk with God, then they need to see you in prayer and in the Bible every day.

Some parents think that they can get away with this thinking: "Do as I say, not as I do.” That does not work. What you say is credible only by what you do.

Being an example of what you want others to be and do is a powerful motivating tool, but it is not a slam dunk.

This is the example form of motivation. How well or not does this form fit your personality?

We rented a gym for the church plant I was leading in Vancouver, Canada. We had to set up (and take down) a stage, chairs, banners, lights, and a sound system every week. We did this the whole nine years I was there. Every year it seemed we needed a new system of volunteers to make this happen.

One year, we the leadership board decided to be an example to the rest of the church, an example of humility and service. We would do the set up with our families for an entire year. So, we leaders had to not only do all the leading, but we had to do set up as well. It was a tough year, but we wanted to be a goodexample.

We did it. One year. Setting up and taking down. Did it make recruiting new volunteers any easier than before? Not one bit.

Sometimes being a good example is not enough. People, in general, are very quick to take all that others are doing for them for granted. So when you as a parent, a boss, or a church leader have humbled yourself, have gone out and done what you are now asking others to do, and then find out no one cares, most of us turn to the third motivational strategy - guilt.

Guilt, as a motivating strategy, is easy to employ when you are disappointed and perhaps even a bit angry at the lack of cooperation you are getting from those around you.

It looks like this:

Parent: "After everything I do for you, house, clothes, food, vacations, cable TV (and the list goes on and on), this is how you treat me? I ask one little thing of you, and you can't be bothered.”

Boss: "I pay you a fair wage. I give you health benefits. You get paid time off. As a company, we are barely breaking even. And all I expect from you is that you do your best. Is that too much to ask for?”

Friend: "When you want to do something I always go along with it. But the one time I wish to do something different, you don't want to do it.”

Pastor: "You don't give much money to the church. You don't have time to help out. You are not faithful in your devotions or consistent with your church attendance. And this, after Jesus died on the cross for you.”

Guilt hurts. It hurts so much that we never let the guilt we feel sit very long in our hearts. We turn it into anger, anger-in or anger-out. Anger-in is depression. Anger-out is some form of blame or justification.

Here is the point. Guilt, and the anger-in or anger-out that it leads to, does not motivate the people around you to do as you want.

This is the guilt form of motivation. How well or not does this form fit your personality?

So how does Paul begin to motivate Philemon toward his way of thinking in terms of the runaway slave Onesimus? Paul has the power and position to order Philemon to do as he wants, but he tells Philemon he doesn't wish to motivate him in this way. Instead, Paul appeals to a higher cause.

The best motivation, the kind that inspires people to do something that may require some sacrifice, comes when a person sees a worthwhile cause behind what is being asked. This is especially true when the goal is bigger than the people involved.

Soldiers are willing to die for their friends and country. Parents are willing to work long hours at a job they don't like for the sake of their family. College kids are prepared to eat ramen noodles for a few years to earn a degree that they believe will help them get a job that might help them make some positive difference in the world. Missionaries are willing to give up their culture and the comforts of home to reach people that don't know Christ.

Paul wants Philemon to do something, not just for Paul, and not just because Paul is the one asking, but for the sake of love - the love of God- something bigger than Paul or Philemon.

So you want to motivate someone to do something for you. Resist just telling them what to do. Don't just be an example you hope they will follow. And most of all, don't resort to making them feel guilty. Instead, try to communicate the greater cause behind the thing you are asking them to do.

Parents, instead of asking your kids to clean the garage, ask them to contribute to the cause of your great family.

Teachers, instead of just giving assignments, give them "this is possibly going to change your future” challenges.

Spouses, instead of complaining about the other not doing their share, invite them to join you in the God-ordained mission of becoming the unique partnership that God had in mind when He brought you two together.

Pastors, instead of complaining that no one gives his or her very best to church, invite people to join you in the greatest enterprise the world has ever known.

Here is the secret to doing this. Whenever you are about to ask somebody to do something or complain to someone that he or she is not doing something, stop a moment and ask yourself: What greater thing is this ask or complaint regarding? Why, ultimately, am I wanting this person to do something?

Oh, and here is a hint to answering this last question: it is not all about you. The greater thing cannot be about you. It can be about us. It can be about God. It can be about some cause. But if the only reason you want someone to do something is because it is about you, good luck.



Can you give an example of a time you tried to motivate someone by just ordering them to do something?

Can you give an example of a time you tried to motivate someone by example?

Can you give an example of a time you tried to motivate someone by guilting them?

Which technique is your "go to” in motivating people to do what you want? Order them? Give a good example? Guilt them? Appeal to a higher cause? Why?

If our desire to motivate is selfish, the people around us can sense it. But if our desire to motivate is something "beyond us,” something "greater than us,” then those we are trying influence will be more likely to respond in a positive way. Who are you attempting to influence these days and how could you appeal to a higher cause? (Let the group help you figure this out).

Last modified: Monday, August 13, 2018, 9:07 AM