Be a fragrant offering
Have you ever thought about how someone smells? Good or bad? Have you ever noticed that your memories are often associated with a scent?
What are some good smells you have noticed? Shampoo fragrance, perfume, laundry fragrance, or just the smell of ‘clean’?
What are some bad smells? (Please be considerate of others when sharing.) socks, sweat, certain food odors, chemicals, some overly strong or intense fragrances, bad breath.
Have you ever noticed something that appeared clean, but smelled really bad? What does that indicate? Is it clean or is there something wrong with it? Like a dish rag or an old sponge in the sink? Wet laundry forgotten in the washer? A soaked pet?
Sometimes we only look at the outside appearance and don’t think about smell. A person might put a dirty gym shirt on because it still looks good, but their close friends might notice a foul smell.
How do you tell a friend you care about that they smell bad without hurting their feelings? Should you tell them at all? Would you want to know if you smelled bad, or if something you were doing was repellent to others? Is there a right and a wrong way to do this?
Did you know that God cares about how we smell too? Listen to these two verses in the Bible and think about what they mean:
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” -2 Corinthians 2:14-15 NIV
Sure this is a different sort of fragrance, but it is unforgettable to those who experience it. Many of you remember experiencing something unique like this for the first time while at Youth Camp.
If we follow Christ (if you have chosen to become a Christian) we should have the aroma of Christ, meaning God is pleased with the things we live out as we think and become more like Christ with our attitudes, willingness to love others and to serve with humility in God’s honor. We should be developing in kindness, with patience, growing in compassion and in self control, too. Of course we are not already perfect, but there should be some evidence that Christ has an influence on us as we go. This is our aroma, a spiritual scent we have that God is aware of. The knowledge of Christ and the good news revealed in the Bible that He came to save us from being trapped in our sins. This knowledge is an aroma of Christ that should be shared with others.
Have you heard the actor and pro wrestler Dwayne Johnson famously ask, “Can you smell what the rock is cooking?” Well, if you can’t smell it, maybe he isn’t cooking anything at all, or maybe he is just talking about what he intends to cook one day in the future. If we want to follow Christ and be a fragrant offering, let’s follow God’s recipe and get cooking, not just read about it and imagine what the meal might be like if someone else made it. When others catch the scent, they will be curious and be hungry for what God is offering to the world that can eternally satisfy.
“God, would you please reveal to each of us the areas where we are pleasing to you, and those aspects of ourselves that don’t smell so good. Be patient with us and help us to be patient and kind to each other as we grow closer to you from where each of us are now. Please guide us to set a good example for those who do not yet know you and to represent Christ to the world around us faithfully. You are beautiful and worthy of praise and your goodness is worth celebrating. Thank you for being you. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.” -Ezra
Photos submitted by Karyn Engle