The other night I had a group of guys come over to talk and pray. As is common with us, a number of the guys embraced as they greeted on another. One of the guys commented to another, You smell like . . . a man! Great start to another time of real authenticity! Honestly! Turns out the brother had been climbing earlier in the day, hadn’t yet showered and was entirely unaware of any . . . offensive odor—how great to hear the truth from a friend! Ever wonder what odor you give off?
For many reasons this is the time of year when I am particularly aware of God’s work in and through us as described by Paul in II Corinthians 2:14 & 15:
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing . . ..
God doesn’t call us to be stinkers! Indeed, His purpose is to manifest the sweet aroma of Jesus through us. Peterson translates it people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. In considering these words several years ago God led me to think of myself as a “diffuser” of His gracious fragrance—I’m just the “reed” in the image; He has placed me into Himself and Himself into me, so where I go His sweet aroma gets spread, not in an overpowering way but in a way which is refreshing. Like frankincense and myrrh, to some my presence brings a refreshing aroma while to others I have the stench of death—not because of me, but because of their own reaction to Jesus within me, living through me, being real.
Long ago over the hills outside Bethlehem the angels announced that Jesus’ coming was good news of great joy for all people (Luke 2:10). Is that the message you convey about Him? Do you allow His Spirit to overflow joy through you as a sweet aroma? The reed in a diffuser is pretty plain and the role is pretty simple. Yet, it is an important role if the fragrance is to make it out of the bottle!
Last night I was privileged to go with a group of students from Northwest University to share a meal and conversation with some older folks at Operation Nightwatch, Seattle. As we made the arrangements none of us knew that it was the birthday of one of the residents. Miss Linda was turning 64 but planned on just picking up some pizza and going back to her room to eat in the privacy of her room. But Miss Linda is a dearly beloved, blood bought, child of The King and Papa had better things planned for her! As the students engaged with her you could see her countenance change. She joined us for dinner, laughed, and offered up her dominoes (the games lasted for a couple of hours, past her normal bedtime). Pay attention and make note of how much Papa loves us! As I wrote an email earlier today to thank the students, I shared with them one of my favorite benedictions—from Richard C. Halverson:
You go no place by accident. Wherever you go, Christ is sending you.
You are no place by mistake. Wherever you are, Christ has placed you.
You go nowhere by accident—you are nowhere by accident.
Wherever you go–wherever you are—Christ is placing you or sending you,
because Christ has a job He wants to do where you are
and He can only do it in your body.
Think–wherever you are, Jesus Christ is literally present in the flesh.
Believe that, and go in that confidence.
As your thoughts and activities move from Thanksgiving to Christmas, may His exquisite fragrance be diffused through you, and may you too enjoy the aroma!