Tuesday, January 15, 2008

When Life hangs in the balance...




When you've been around Christian circles long enough, you learn to recognize "Christianese" (Christian rhetoric that says so much but yet says so little). I've been in many Christian circles on just about every continent. I've preached or spoken in some of the largest churches on the planet, and attended some of the largest Christian gatherings in the 21st century. But all of that fades to insignificance when life hangs in the balance. I met Billy Hornsby about a year before we actually moved to Florida to plant The Well. He was (and still is) one of the most unassuming men I have ever met. He was so authentic and likeable that, at our launch, he was kidding around with my youngest daughter (nine at the time) and "pulled" a five dollar bill out of her ear, which he then gave to her urging her to remember "uncle Billy".

I marveled at how a man so focused on his purpose, and so busy serving the Body of Christ on a global scale, could be so down-to-earth and so delightful. Then I met Charlene, and it all made sense. These are the people you want to sit around the dinner table with at Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is the family whose home you want to watch the Superbowl at. These are the kind of people who's house you want to hang out at with your friends. Amazingly, this is the same family you'd want beside you on the mission field, or planting a church, or nursing you through a difficult season, or simply talking about how good God is. The Hornsby's have always fascinated me by their simple and transparent love for God and His people. Now, as they face one of the greatest crisis of their lives, they again exemplify the Christianity they have preached and reflected so eloquently with their lives.

Charlene's story puts life in its proper perspective. It distills the vital from the irrelevant. It forces you to look at your own life in the context of your mortality. You know what impacts me the most about their story though? It's the fact that, knowing that she might have a short time to live, she isn't afraid of dying, nor does she want to change anything about her life. Wow! That suggests to me that the life she is living, fulfills everything that God called her to live, and so she is satisfied that it continue just the way it is until He sees fit to call her home. Charlene and Billy, you are amazing examples of what Christian's should look like. Your lives confidently say, "Follow us, as we follow Christ." We (My family and our church family) are praying for you and your family, and we know that in the end, if we have laid claim to the name of Jesus, we all win!

8 comments:

Moose Man said...

We should all purpose are lives so that we can say that exact same thing when its over.

Hope said...

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for this post. Thank you to Charlene and Billy for your faithful walk and trust in God, and the vulnerability in which you shared this moment with the world. So many of us errantly live as if we have control over how many days we lived. How few regrets we would have if we all knew exactly when we were to leave this Earth; the question is why don't we live each day as if it might be the last?

Anonymous said...

This is a great testimony! Helps put things back into perspective.

ED

Ms Harkins said...

A beautiful and touching post, Joseph. Thanks. I especially liked paragraph 2 ... "these are the people you want to sit around the dinner table with..."

Hope Clark said...

"...I know what's ahead of me is wonderful." What a gorgeous statement! That is a heavenly perspective of life. I'm so overwhelmed with the thought that Mrs. Hornsby's work is not yet done here. This is a year of new beginnings. Whether she has one more year or 10 more years, I believe she will see and be a part of amazing, miraculous things this year. God lives and resides in the realm of impossibility and the Hornsby’s have demonstrated that they aren't afraid to step into that realm with Him. I am praying for them!

M. Thompson said...

Having a colleague critically ill right now in hospital with cancer , made this testimony even more touching and insightgul. To have such faith and peace during such a difficult time is truly a blessing and I had to stop and pray not just for them but also for the rest of us.

Joseph said...

Thank you all for your kind and gracious comments. I'm confident Billy and Charlene will be grateful to know that there are so many caring people out there praying for them and cheering them on.

Mendedbones said...

Heartbreaking but true. In all our comings and goings in our daily life, we tend to forget what is truly important.