FamilyLife Today® Podcast

More Thoughts on Humility, Gratefulness,

with Tim Kimmel | September 29, 2006
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Do you have the right master or mission? On the broadcast today, Tim Kimmel, Executive Director of Family Matters and author of the book Raising Kids for True Greatness, encourages parents to model a life well-lived in front of their children and to teach their children to do the same.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Do you have the right master or mission? On the broadcast today, Tim Kimmel, Executive Director of Family Matters and author of the book Raising Kids for True Greatness, encourages parents to model a life well-lived in front of their children and to teach their children to do the same.

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

Tim Kimmel encourages parents to model a life well-lived in front of their children.

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More Thoughts on Humility, Gratefulness,

With Tim Kimmel
September 29, 2006
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Bob: Do you want your children's lives to really matter for the kingdom?  One of the questions you have to ask yourself is -- what do my kids see in my own life?  Here's Dr. Tim Kimmel.

Tim: They may grow up to be very wealthy and beautiful and powerful and all that stuff, but they live an irrelevant life.  The fact is, if you look at the raw statistics, the evangelical movement is doing a very poor job transferring a passionate love for God to the next generation, and that doesn't need to be.  We can change that, but it's all about us handing our hearts and lives over to Jesus Christ and letting Him do it in us first.

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, September 29th.  Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.  Would you be satisfied if your children lived happy, healthy lives that didn't really matter for the kingdom?

 And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Friday edition.  You've seen my car, right?

Dennis: I have.

Bob: And it's about 10 years old now, and …

Dennis: Is that all?

Bob: It's a 10-year-old Buick that I inherited from my mother, all right?  Now, have you see the car my son is driving -- Jimmy?

Dennis: I have not.

Bob: That's the one I used to drive.  It's about 17 years old.  It's an Oldsmobile and, trust me, it is his father's Oldsmobile, right?

Dennis: There you go.

Bob: And Jimmy, a number of years ago, I remember him saying to me, "Dad, when I get a job, when I'm successful, I'll buy you a new car," and I thought, "Well, that's nice of you, son," but what he was really saying was, "Dad, you drive junky cars."  And I'm not sure I'm happy -- and I remember thinking at the time, "Should I say, 'Well, you know, son, my big deal is not what kind of car I drive.'  The cars we drive, I mean, they get us …

Dennis: That's not your value system.

Bob: That's right, and, frankly, I'm not sure it ought to be his value system, either, you know? 

Dennis: Right.

Bob: Try and orient him toward the right view of the right stuff to be aiming toward.  That's really what we've been talking about this whole week -- how we raise our children to have the right moorings, the right address that they're headed for as they launch out into life.

Dennis: We've been attempting to train parents to have the right measurement, the right value system, in raising children who truly are great and Tim Kimmel has helped us all this week.  Tim, I want to thank you for being on the broadcast, and you're a good friend, it's good to have you back, and I'm real excited about this book, "Raising Kids for True Greatness."

Tim: Thank you.  You know, I've been listening to you guys go back and forth here, and sometimes I wonder where you're going.  You're starting the show, and I'm sitting here, and I've been out in my own car listening to you guys sometimes, and "Where are they going?"  But thank you for having me be here.

Bob: We're never really sure where we're going.

Tim: You've said some very kind things about Darcy and me and our kids, but you need to know that our kids are just like all other kids.  They're born with the same bents, just like everybody else, and they have parents that have feet of clay that would just as much prefer aiming their kids at wealth and beauty and power and fame just like anybody else.

Dennis: But you've chosen not to do that.  You've picked another value system.

Tim: But it's only because of what Christ did in our life and how you opened our eyes to the things that really matter in life.  You know, when you think about gold and how it's driven people to madness in our history, and then what do they use it for in heaven?  Asphalt.  They spit on it before they go taking a jog in the morning.  It's nothing in heaven.

 In 2 Peter, chapter 3, he reminds us what's going to happen to everything that people live their lives for here on earth as far as material things.  God is going to blow it to powder.  The heavens will vanish with a roar, the elements will melt with intense heat, the earth and all of its works are going to be burned up, and then it says, "Seeing that these things are going to happen this way, what manner of people ought you to be?"

 And then he goes on to talk about character traits that we've been talking about here -- humility, gratefulness, generosity, a servant attitude.  Those are the things that you can invest now on earth, make a huge difference in people's lives, and they actually pay off forever.

Bob: You really believe that these character qualities that we've talked about this week -- humility, gratefulness, generosity, and a servant's heart, are character qualities that ultimately have to be played out as we face the most important decisions we're going to face in life.

Tim: Yes.

Bob: What's our mission; who is going to join us on that mission, our mate; and then who is our master? 

Tim: Yeah.

Bob: How do we help our children be oriented toward a mission that has greatness more at the center of it than success?

Tim: Well, I think that's when you eat, sleep, drink, think, others' orientation in your home.  You serve others.  The family has an attitude of service.  When you live in a neighborhood you're there to be a shining light to the people around you.  You help your neighbors.  When you put your kids out there in the school system, we tell our kids, "Go glow in the dark."  Well, you can't glow in the dark as far as shining for Christ if you're not caring for the people around you and helping making them better.

Dennis: You tell the story about your daughter, Shiloh, and how she illustrated how serving others involves a risk.

Tim: Well, absolutely, and that's why, by the way, a lot of times we shy away from it, but our daughter has a real heart for people that just don't have a lot of chance in life, and she worked down in the inner city from the time she started high school.  In fact, she lives down there now.  She's in her second year of college, but when she was in high school, they had these day camps going on for the kids in the inner city, and for the weeks before that, they had to go out and find all the children because many times poor children move a lot.

 So they went through and found -- cataloged all these kids, and she came to this one family in this home, and they had a little boy about, you know, a little 5-, 6-year-old boy, and she told them about the day camp, and she said, "I'll come and pick him up at 8:30.  I'll have my little jeep.  I'll have a giraffe in the window.  I call it the "giraffe mobile," I'll pick you up.  And so the mother said, "Great."  She came on Monday, got the boy, 8:30, the kid had a wonderful time, and she said, "By the way, we'll feed him, we'll feed him a snack as soon as he gets there, feed him lunch, feed him something before he leaves."  The kid had this voracious appetite and through other things that she observed, she could tell there were a lot of struggles in this home.

 Well, she came back the second day, knocked on the door, and when it was answered, the mother said, "Look, this isn't working out.  This is early in the morning.  We just don't think this is a good fit.  We don't want our son to go."  "Oh, come on, he's ready to go."  Well, she let him go, but "This is the last one."  But she promises, boy, she'd get him every day, so she came back the next day and nobody answered the door, and she knocked again.  Nobody answered.

 And so she's telling us this story and says, "So you know what I did?"  "What?"  She said, "I did the cop knock."

Bob: The cop knock?

Tim: She said, "the cop knock."  I said, "The cop knock -- what is that?"  She said that's where you make a fist, and you just tear into that door, and you just pound and pound and pound.

Bob: [makes knocking sound]

Tim: Exactly, like that.  She says, "I did the cop knock, and I went around on the other side of the house and did it, too."  Well, right away, as a dad, I'm thinking, "Oh, are you crazy?" 

Dennis: What does she weigh?

Tim: She weighs about 105.

Dennis: Yeah, so we're not talking about a big girl here.

Tim: No, no, no, she's just a little tiny thing.  "And by the way," she said -- I said, "Weren't you frightened?"  She says, "Well, yeah, I was frightened."  And there were men living in this house, and by the circumstances they could tell there's probably drugs trafficking through this thing, and these are dangerous folks, and I tried to tell her, I said, "Honey, you've got to be careful on this," and, by the way, she went back and did the cop knock Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  She went back every day until the end of the week because -- but I did the practical thing of a dad, you know, "You've got to be careful."  She says, "Well, dad, it's the inner city.  It's a dangerous place, and they tell us what we can do or can't do in our training.  They give us boundaries, and I was within the boundaries." 

 And I kept talking about, "These are dangerous people."  She says, "Once again, Dad, it's the inner city," and here's what she said.  "If I'm going to let me intimidate me, I ought to go back to my upper middle class, Starbuck's comfortable Christian experience we have here."

Dennis: Oooh, ouch.

Tim: And, I mean, it's like she just kind of pulled me up real fast.  And she loves our church, she loves our community, she doesn't want to look down -- she's just saying that, "Well, if you want to be safe in your Christian experience, you want to be comfortable, okay, you can do that.  But that's not how you make a difference," and that's not what felt she was called to.

 But she said, "Look, I told that boy I'd come back for him every day.  I think these kids are used to Christians being pushovers, and I just didn't feel I could let him down on that."  And I want to raise kids, and I think we all want to raise kids that make an impact in their life, and if they're going to do that, we've got to realize that there may be some risks involved, but that's where we trust God, do due diligence, don't be foolish, but trust God.

Bob: Right before my daughter went overseas and was going to spend a year in Vietnam, I went and saw the movie, "Gods and Generals," which talks about Stonewall Jackson, and I remember a soldier coming in and asking the general -- and this apparently happened in reality with General Jackson -- a soldier came, and he said, "General, you seem so composed on the battlefield.  How is it that you are to keep your composure when there are bullets whizzing by you?"  And Jackson said -- I'm paraphrasing here -- he said, "My theology teaches me that I am as safe on the battlefield as I am in my bed, because sovereign God has ordained my path."

 And I remember thinking, "Amy is as safe in a foreign country as she is on the streets of Little Rock."  Your daughter was as safe in the inner city as she would have been in the suburbs if she is in the will of God.

Tim: If she's in the will of God and she feels led there.  When we're raising our kids to have a great mission in life, we must have them grab hands with the God that made them to live that mission.  They are absolutely safe.  Psalm 91 promises it, and we can walk out there.  Nothing can happen unless God planned it for His glory and their betterment.

Dennis: Our assignment as parents, and it helped me early on -- I studied the Scripture to try to find out what was really the essence of being a parent, and one of the components was being good at releasing your children.  It's one long process of releasing and releasing and releasing your child but ultimately that release has to come into the hand of God.  And if you're not purposefully taking your child's hand and placing his or her hand into God's hand, then the question is -- whose hand are you putting them into?  Is it the hand that has money or beauty or intelligence or success or is it going to be about an unseen kingdom, and that's what you've been exhorting us to do here all this week, is to be purposeful about not raising children of success but raise children who are truly great by God's standard.

Bob: If one of your sons or daughters came along and said, "You know, Dad, I think God's calling me to ministry in Syria, in Lebanon, in Iran," "I'm feeling called to North Korea, Dad."  Do you just say, "Well, okay, if that's what the Lord is saying."

Tim: Here's the thing right now, Bob, there are lots of parents listening to us whose kids have been called to minister -- they are our soldiers.  They're out there right now, and they're doing very dangerous, hazardous duty.  And if you go out as a follower of Christ into those situations, it's just like General Jackson said, you're as safe there as you are in your bed if you're walking with God.  Nothing can happen to you unless this is part of God's bigger plan, of which we will never understand, but we have to trust Him for it. 

 I think the problem with the success illusion is that we define the plan, and we define what it's supposed to look like, and it's all about us. 

Dennis: Barbara and I have talked about this some, wondering -- why is this happening?  I think it's because of materialism.

Tim: I do, too.

Dennis: Personally, I think we are so wealthy in America, and we have so many needs provided for -- I mean, all you've got to do is drive by the newest shopping center in your town, and they're popping up like popcorn all across the nation, all these different stores.  Very few of them dealing with basic humanitarian needs, all of them trying to satisfy an unlimited appetite of wants that we Americans have.  And I think, for the most part, Tim, the Christian community has bought into what you're talking about, and we have not passed on a passionate conviction that life is not about what we see, but it's about God's work on this planet. 

 First of all, we need to have a mission ourselves and, Bob, frankly, it's one of the reasons why I love challenging our listeners to lead a Homebuilders Bible study and get involved in the lives of others, because we're in a battle, we're in an absolute battle today for the next generation of families, and if we don't engage in the battle, you know what?  We're going to cave into the forces of darkness, and our children are going to pick up on what our false value system really was.

Bob: Really, as you point folks to Homebuilders, you're pointing them toward a spiritual priority, a spiritual mission, and that's really what you're calling moms and dads and husbands and wives to get involved with, whether it's Homebuilders or some other spiritual mission.  You just know this is something that's simple that every husband and wife could get involved with and that would have a profound impact on neighbors and friends and family members.

Dennis: Well, I look at Tim, and I think were did his daughter get her heart for the inner city?  He watched his mom and dad be about building an invisible kingdom caring for people.  Now, Tim hasn't done that perfectly and neither has his wife Darcy, but you know what?  His daughter caught what it looked like to be about a spiritual mission that's more than just living out 70, 80 years existence and having a big burn pile.

Tim: Yeah, and I really want to qualify that we've made our share of mistakes, and our kids have struggled like just any other kid, but in the process what we want to do is expose them to something bigger than life.  This whole concept of true greatness, guys, was illustrated to me in a place and time in my life when I think I was absolutely hip-deep in the success illusion.  And I longed for those things that the world says are important. 

 Darcy and I were over in Amsterdam at an event that Billy Graham had sponsored for itinerant speakers, and since I travel and speak we were there, and most of the people were from Third World or developing countries and there were a handful of us Americans.  I went to this one breakout session on prayer.  Darcy went to some other one.  We were kind of doubling down on our efforts, and the man talked about the priority of prayer in your ministry.  And then he invited us to kind of take somebody nearby and just pray for each other.

 Well, I was sitting on the edge of the crowd, kind of in a -- several seats on either side of me by myself, but as soon as I -- he said this, this little guy fro Sri Lanka came right down the thing to me, and he was very excited to meet me, and he was saying how excited he was to be able to pray with an American.

 Well, frankly, to my shame, I was looking over his shoulder.  I was looking around for somebody I thought could be a little more relevant to me, and he wanted to pray with me, and so we sat down there, and "Okay," you know, and he wanted to know about my family, and I was telling him about -- "Do you have a picture?"  Well, I always carry a picture of my family in my Bible, so I showed him that, and he started writing down the names of Darcy and the kids and asking us all about them, and "How can I pray for you," and I said some lame thing about, you know, "Pray that people will receive the message when I go out," or something stupid like that.

 And so he started to pray.  And as soon as he started to pray, I realized I was in trouble, because I happened to be sitting next to one of God's special people, and I knew that all heaven and earth had stopped because God's special friend was talking, and He was paying attention.  And this guy just poured this humble prayer out on behalf of Darcy and each one -- he named them all by name, and he just prayed this beautiful prayer and prayed for me and everything, and that was really good.

 Well, then it was done, and it's my turn.  And I didn't even have a piece of paper to write anything on.  I found an old bulletin in my thing, trying to write, "Well, how can I pray for you," and here is what he said.  He said, "Oh, Mr. Tim, pray that when I come in the village to bring the matchless Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people, pray that I can find a safe tree to sleep in at night."  So I'm writing this down, and I stopped and I said, "You sleep in trees?"  "Yes."  And I said, "Well, why don't you sleep in a hotel?"  See, an American is talking here.  "Oh, those are very expensive, and we don't have that kind of resources, plus they don't have them in a lot of villages I go to."  "Well, why don't you stay with some families there?"  "Oh, they are very hostile to the Gospel.  Where I go, they could be punished after I leave or even while I'm there if they show hospitality to me."  "So you sleep in trees?"  "Yeah."  "What's a safe tree?"  He says, "Oh, one night I was deep asleep and, all of a sudden, I woke up and this vicious reptile had wrapped himself all around me."  And a python had gotten him and slipped in the tree and gotten him, and what a python does is it squeezes the life out of its victim, and then it consumes them.  And he had fought for his life to get away from this gigantic snake.  But he says, "But since then, I have a very difficult time sleeping in the trees," and I'm thinking, "No kidding."

 And I thought about myself, how sometimes I'm upset, you know, when room service is closed when I get to the hotel or, you know, the pillows aren't just right.  And what got me is not that he fought for his life in that tree, but he was going back into the trees to sleep because he loved the people so much, he wanted to get a message to them that was very dangerous to his own life.

 And God just sobered this arrogant American comfortable Christian that's wrapped up in this Starbuck's belief system and said, "Pay attention.  This isn't about you.  This is about something greater."  And once you can give that to your kids, well, it's a life well lived.

Dennis: Tim, I want to thank you for being here all this week and for challenging our listeners, and if you, as a listener, have not heard the question he's asking, the question is -- how does your life measure up against the true standard of greatness that Jesus presents in the Scripture?  It's really not about whether you sleep in a hotel or a tree, it's a matter of whether you are being obedient to His plan for your life today.  The question is, are you?  Because if you aren't, how can you pass on the right standard to your children?

Bob: Do you have the right master and the right mission, and we've talked about having the right mate and, by the way, that can apply whether you're married or not -- who your mates are as you're in fellowship and community to live out what God has called us to, and as you were telling that story, I was thinking about a verse that we sang one Sunday morning in the hymn, "Faith of our Fathers," and this isn't in all the hymnals, but I remember singing it and, all of a sudden, in the middle of singing it, I went, "I'm not sure I can really sing this verse."  It goes something like this --

 "Our fathers chained in prisons dark,

 Were still in heart and conscience free.

 How sweet would be their children's fate

 If they" -- their children -- "like them" -- the martyrs,

 Could die for thee?"

 And I remember thinking, "Do we really want to be singing how sweet it would be if our children could die for the faith, and yet if that's what God is calling them to, to invest their lives for the kingdom -- I mean -- that's what he's calling all of us to, right?

Tim: Yes.

Bob: Whether we live or die, we live for Christ, we die for Christ, right?  And I think that really is a significant shift in the way we think as parents.  But I think you're calling us to adjust our thinking in terms of biblical priorities, in terms of kingdom priorities, as we raise our children, and I think, once again, you have written a counter-cultural book -- counter-cultural for the Christian culture. 

Dennis: Right.

Bob: This is not who we are today, but it may be who we need to become as moms and dads.  And, again, the book we've been talking about this week is raising kids for true greatness, which I'll mention to our listeners -- we have it in our FamilyLife Resource Center.  If you'd like to get a copy of the book, go to our website,, click the button that says "Go," and that will take you right to the site where you can order a copy of Tim's book.  You can review it.  There's more information available about the book on our website.  We also have other resources available to you as parents that point in the same direction.  You wrote a book not long ago called "Fifty Ways to Really Love Your Kids," and any of our listeners who are interested in getting both of these books, we can send along with them, at no additional cost, the two-CD series that features the conversation we've been having this week on this subject.

 Again, our website is  If you go there and click the button that says "Go," right in the middle of the home page.  It's a red button, it will take you to the page where you can get more information or order these resources online.  You could also call 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY.  That's 1-800-358-6329.  We've got folks on our team available who can answer any questions you have about these resources, or they can make arrangements to have the resources sent out to you.

 By the way, there is something else we'd love to send out to you.  We have a two-CD series that features an interview we did a while back with the author of a book called "For Women Only."  Shaunti Feldhahn was in our studios, and we talked about what's in her book, the findings of a national research study she did on understanding what's going on in the hearts and minds of men, and the CDs were very popular with our listeners.  We'd love to send a set of them to you, and we're doing that this month as a way of saying thank you for a donation of any amount to the ministry of FamilyLife Today.  It's your donations that help keep this program on the air in this city and in cities all across the country, and if you can help with a donation of any amount this month, we want you to feel free to ask for the two-CD series featuring Shaunti Feldhahn.

 You can donate online at, and if you're doing that as you fill out the donation form, you will come to a keycode box, type the word "women" into that keycode box, and we'll know to send you the CD series with Shaunti Feldhahn, or call 1-800-FLTODAY, make a donation over the phone, and just be sure to mention you'd like those CDs and, again, we're happy to send them out to you.  This is our way of saying thanks for your partnership with us and your financial support of this ministry.  So we hope to hear from you.

 Well, we hope you have a great weekend this weekend, and we hope you can be back with us on Monday when we're going to hear the first part of a powerful message from Voddie Baucham.  He spoke recently about the priority of the family for passing faith to the next generation.  What does Ephesians 6 really mean when it says "honoring our parents will cause it to go well with you?"  That's one of the things we're going to hear him talk about next week.  I hope you can be here for that.

 I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team.  On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine.  We'll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

 FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.


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