Will Smith, as the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, famously rapped the phrase “smell ya later” as he departed a cab that apparently had a foul smell. Smells are something I am extremely sensitive to. I will never buy another front load washer because of the smell that lingers because we forget a load of laundry in it for more than an hour. The days of diapers are happily behind me while the smells of dirty diapers have created haunting memories. Strong perfume and cologne (to all you AXE preteens, spray less…way less) give me headaches, most of the time.
One lady from our church has a perfume that sticks on me for a couple hours after she gives me a hug. She is one of those people that is always so happy to see you, always greets you with a warm hello and a hug and a kiss. She is interested in your life, genuinely interested. For those couple of hours after we greet each other, the smell of her perfume that lingers on me brings to mind the smile and warmth of the sweet “aunty” that I always look forward to seeing.
What smell do you leave with people? I know I have many growing areas that have rubbed people the wrong way. I’m certain that certain interactions have left people stuck with the stench of my poor attitude or sharp temperament. I’m trying to make sure people walk away with a sweet fragrance and fond memories of my interactions with them, even if just a passing moment. There are so many characteristic of Christ that I aspire to, love, compassion, mercy, grace, etc. I know if I strive for those things, the aroma will be pleasing to most.
Of course I know for myself I can do nothing else but rely on my Lord Jesus Christ for such sweet fragrance. All those acts of love and compassion are just preludes to the greatest act of compassion which was Jesus on the cross. If my actions stop at myself, I am selling people short.
In 2 Corinthians Paul is writing to the church in Corinth and it appears there are some challenges. His words to them from God are to push forward in sharing the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection. He uses the imagery of a victory march after a battle where incense would be burned. To those who are victorious, the smell is sweet. To those who are defeated, the smell is of death. He says in chapter 2 verses 15-17
“For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.”
My hope is to be a sweet smell to those I meet. I want to ultimately leave people with the fragrance of life, life that is only from Jesus Christ. The battle is won, victory has been established, and I’m just a messenger of that good news. If I have no love and just preach to people, I risk becoming a “peddler of God’s word”. There must be the sweet fragrance of love, but in the end my calling is to swing my censer of incense in the victory of Jesus. The sweetest fragrance of all.
What smell will you leave lingering in your path? -jason