How Can We Be a Breath of Fresh Air?
by Chris Hodges
to be made new in the attitude of your minds
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
In 2009, my father-in-law, Billy Hornsby, discovered a stage 5 melanoma tumor on the bottom of his foot. Billy’s response was that God could heal him—and if God didn’t, he said, “I’ve already lived an incredibly full life—better than I ever hoped or dreamed.”
In all his struggles through life, Billy never complained—never. In fact, in the twenty-seven years that I knew Billy, I never saw him have a bad day. And I never heard him say anything negative about anyone—ever. On December 26, 2010, Billy preached what would be his final sermon at the church I pastor. He was honest about the fear, pain, and even doubt that accompany suffering. At the same time, he pointed us to the Word of God, sharing how we can let go of fear and dread when we submit ourselves to God, who promises never to leave or forsake us. As he was staring death in the face, Billy modeled courage, a positive attitude, and faith for us. Even his doctors and nurses were blown away by his faith and peace. At the end of the day, Billy will not be known for what he did but for who he was. Billy loved God, and he loved people. He also made a choice to love life—food, fishing, music, and family—and he always made things fun. Every day was a great day.
My father-in-law gave us a glimpse into what Jesus is like. Movies and the media often portray Christ as being serious and somber, thin and malnourished. But it’s clear that everyone—children, sinners, skeptics, the rich, the poor—loved being around Jesus. In fact, the only people who did not enjoy Jesus were the inauthentic, self-righteous, religious people. Everyone else was drawn to Jesus because he was enjoyable to be around. He gave people breath, life, energy, peace, and joy.
Who has modeled the character of Jesus for you in your life? How have they influenced you to grow closer to God and be a life giver? I encourage you to let their example be an inspiration and model for you to follow so you’ll become a breath of fresh air to others like they are for you.