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My Favorite Compliment

There’s one kind of accolade that really lights my fire.
By Dennis Rainey


Think with me for a moment: What compliment causes a grin to break out on your face? What really fires you up and makes you want to give a “high five”?

We could all get super spiritual at this point and answer: “Oh, I just love it when someone comes up to me and tells me that something about me reminds them of Jesus Christ.” Okay, let’s all agree that this truly would be the consummate tribute. But after that … what kind word or accolade do you most enjoy hearing? 

While you think about that for a moment, I’ll tell you about my favorites. 

One of the privileges of being on the radio is meeting people who really listen to our broadcasts; as a result, God has used us to minister to them, sometimes profoundly. I always am humbled and encouraged to hear their stories of what God has done in their lives. But … that isn’t my truly favorite type of compliment.

People read our books and write letters of appreciation for the timeliness of what we’ve written. I’m humbled and grateful for how God has used us. But … those aren’t my favorites, either. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I really do love to hear how the eternal destiny of lives, marriages, families, and legacies have been touched and changed through our conferences, our small group studies, and other tools. What a privilege.

But my favorite type of compliment—the one I most love to hear—is when a person or a couple shares how God has used what we’re doing here at FamilyLife to give them a vision for how they can get in the battle and be used by Him to impact the lives of others. 

Why does this light my fire?

Because the magnitude of spiritual needs and challenges facing families today can never be addressed by one person, or by a huge organization, or even by a hundred organizations. The needs today beg for a grassroots spiritual awakening, led by men and women in every strata of society calling others to a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Another reason I love to hear of how God is using men and women like you to impact others is what I call “The Great Robbery.” For years, many of us in leadership in Christian organizations and churches have unwittingly communicated that, if you are not “seminary-trained” or don’t have a “theological education,” you are not qualified to minister to others. As a result, we’ve created an exclusive club in which only those who are “paid to be good” truly qualify to be used by God. 

In other words, we have committed a spiritual heist—we’ve robbed lay men and women in the Christian community of one of the greatest privileges that a true follower of Christ can experience: The unspeakable privilege of walking with God and being used by Him to touch another human being’s life for the glory of God.

Recently I talked with a man who is at the top of his game in corporate America. A leader of thousands at work, this man has a heart for God and wants to impact a broader number for Christ. Yet he told me that Christian leaders had made him feel he had a problem with pride because he wanted to make a big impact for Jesus Christ. How tragic. Here’s a man who should be encouraged to take advantage of the platform God has given him to reach out to others, and instead others are trying to hold him back.

Contrast that situation with the attitude of the Apostle Paul. He was not threatened by the potential impact of his disciple Timothy. “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses,” Paul told Timothy in a letter, “entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). Talk about the ultimate social network virus: Paul was talking about going viral to four generations: Paul, to Timothy, to faithful men, to others. We’re talking about a highly infectious life here.

It’s why l love hearing compliments from exceedingly contagious heroes like Tazwell and Bonita Thornton from Baltimore. About 20 years ago the Thorntons came to the Washington, D.C., Weekend to Remember getaway looking for help for their new marriage. They didn’t know how to do marriage, but that weekend they were equipped. Then they started asking us what resources we offered for them to take to African American churches in the D.C./Baltimore area. So we gave them some tools … and God showed up and showed off through this couple.

Tazwell and Bonita have now taken more than 1,600 engaged people through the Preparing for Marriage curriculum. They’ve started small group studies using the HomeBuilders Couples Series® and trained other leaders, and through that resource they’ve reached another 3,500 people. 

That’s what you call spiritual multiplication, just like we saw in 2 Timothy 2:2. We will never be able to touch enough lives to change the spiritual condition of the world through spiritual addition. But when we reach others and train them to reach others, our impact multiplies. Get enough people involved in spiritual multiplication, and we all might just be a part of turning our nation upside down and changing the world.

This is why we are asking God to raise up a million spiritual multipliers. It’s why we’re challenging folks to become HomeBuilders—people who will “Grab a tool, change a home, and change the world.”   

Over three recent weekends 700 couples said, “We refuse to sit on the sidelines while the world destroys a generation of marriages and families.” They stepped out and stepped up and hosted our new six-hour video event called The Art of Marriage. Somewhere between 35,000 and 45,000 souls were touched (we don’t know exactly how many, because we didn’t do it!). And perhaps more than a couple thousand folks embraced the gospel and trusted Christ. (This new tool is evangelistic.)

I talked to one couple who listens to FamilyLife Today and heard about The Art of Marriage. They ordered the kit and hosted a conference over Valentine’s weekend for over 160 in the country of Barbados. They have a vision of taking the message of how God is the biggest HomeBuilder of all time to all the nations in the Caribbean.

That’s just one couple. Do you think they can make a difference? I do. 

And I think there’s a million more just like them.

So I think you can see why my “compliment meter” has been pegged in recent days!

And what about you? Are you interested in becoming a HomeBuilder? 

Copyright © 2011 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

FamilyLife is a donor-supported ministry offering practical and biblical resources and events to help you build a godly marriage and family. 



Meet the Author: Dennis Rainey

Dennis Rainey

Dennis Rainey is the president and chief executive officer of FamilyLife, a subsidiary of Campus Crusade for Christ. Since the organization began in 1976, Dennis' leadership has enabled FamilyLife to grow into a dynamic and vital ministry that offers families blueprints for living godly lives.  Dennis is host of FamilyLife Today radio program and has written numerous books.  He and his wife, Barbara, live near Little Rock, Arkansas.  They have six children and many grandchildren.

 

 

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