Shepastor: "An 'Aroma' or an 'Odor???' "
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. (II Corinthians 2:14-15, NIV)
When I was growing up, especially during the holiday season, our mother would get up early and start preparing breakfast and then on to preparing dinner. The aroma of the garlic pork (a Guyanese breakfast dish, especially at Christmas), fresh rye bread, and eggs would fill the house. The unmistakable aroma signaled that it was time to get up, come down to eat and then to open our gifts.
I can also remember the fragrance of my mom’s perfume as she prepared to go out with friends. I remember waiting with excitement to see her walk back through the door…I’d run down the stairs to greet her as she came in. I’d jump up, throw my arms around her neck, kiss her cold cheeks and again, smell the sweet fragrance of her perfume. Conversely, I hated the odor of food that had been too long in the refrigerator, or the scary, horrific stench of the dead mouse caught in the trap behind some area out of sight! Both make my skin crawl to this day!
There is a distinct difference between a “fragrance/aroma” and an “odor.” The terms fragrance and aroma stir up feelings of something desirable, beautiful, delicious, mouth-watering! The term odor conjures feelings of sickness, nastiness, distasteful, foul. Simply put, an odor stinks! No one wants to be told that they have an odor! Most wouldn’t mind being told that they have a beautiful fragrance or that their food has a wonderful aroma!
God’s Word tells us that Christ, 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.” In other words, when we spread the good news about Christ, it’s like we are spreading a beautiful fragrance among people, spaces and places that are dwelling in odor filled arenas. Those who do not have a relationship with the Lord, through Jesus Christ are trapped by sin and death.
Death has a very distinct odor. It is sickening, overpowering, horrific. In like manner, sin covers humanity with the stench of spiritual death and separation from the Father. When we share the gospel of Jesus Christ, not only with our words, but with the sweet fragrance of love, compassion, mercy, grace and peace, it encourages those who are “being saved,” in other words, all who are on the journey as well as those who are “perishing…” those who have not made the decision to receive life through Christ.
We don’t want to contribute to the odor! We spread odors by our attitudes, ugly actions, hypocrisy and pharisaic behaviors. We spread odors when we see need and look the other way, see suffering and neglect to offer comfort, see injustice and neglect to speak truth to power. We are not called to spread odor, but the fragrance and sweet aroma of Christ.
What are you spreading today? May we seek the Lord’s guidance and strength daily to spread the sweet fragrance and aroma of Jesus through word, deed and being.
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,