Originally posted on March 3, 2013
Someone once asked me years ago, “What’s the best compliment a person could give you?” I don’t remember how I answered the question at the time, but it’s a question that I’ve often been answering ever since. It’s actually a really great question. If you can tell someone what your greatest potential compliment is, it probably can tell you a lot about the true value you’re placing in things and the goals you’re setting your life on.
I could think of a lot of ways in which I’d personally like to be complimented. Great husband is high on the list. So is great dad. Great pastor, teacher, leader would all be welcomed if true. I’ll never be a “great” long boarder, but “pretty good” would be just fine as a compliment. My family just got a dog, a German Shorthaired Pointer, so I’m reading a lot right now on dog training, trying to remember everything I’ve forgotten. Hopefully one day soon I’ll be complimented on my abilities in that regard.
But to be honest, none of those alone (or even all together) are what I’d consider the greatest compliment. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 4:1, “Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.”
There it is. Did you see it? Paul, in an effort to give more instruction, complimented and reminded his readers of their past teachability and encouraged them to continue in it.
The greatest compliment, for me, would be that I’m teachable.
If I’m teachable, I might be a great husband, yet I still have the potential to improve, because there will always be room for it. Not only do I have the potential to improve, if I’m teachable, but I’m also active in my improving, by God’s grace. Same with my parenting, pastoring, long boarding and dog training.
Being teachable not only contains the willingness to change and improve, but also the desire for it. It says, “I’m being shaped” in the present-tense, and that shaping has a gospel-centeredness to it, or it’s merely self-help. In other words, it’s not me improving myself. It’s God’s tender correction as I place myself on the potter’s spinning wheel. To say that I have that willingness, and even desire, would be a great compliment.
How about you? What’s your greatest compliment?