A while back I was working up north at a church as a youth pastor and our youth room started to have a unique odor. I thought it might have just been because the building was old. The carpet, though clean, was showing its wear. We used a little carpet freshener, tried a few of those plug in room deodorizers, but the smell got stronger and seemed to be coming from under the raised stage. Where ever it was from, it was stinking badly and it was starting to make people not want to be in that room.
One of our eager, take action interns said they would investigate. So they suite up in one of those clean room suits that have both attached foot covers and gloves, where the only part of your body exposed is your face. So they used a medical mask to cover their mouth and donned a diving mask and head lamp flashlight (or we may have just duck taped a Mag light to his head). It was quite a site. Well, we pulled away one of the sections and were hit with a blast of stench that caused us to take a few steps back while covering our mouths and fighting back that desire to wretch….except for the intern who could not smell a thing. With shovel in hand and a rope tied to his ankle he disappeared into the unknown!
It seemed like hours as the stench now filled the room. Soon there was a tug on the rope and we pulled him out. He was covered in dirt and in his shovel was a blob of fur, and let’s just say a mass of something that was once a lived (I will spare the details because honestly I’m feeling a bit queasy just thinking about). We disposed of the carcass properly and he went back in one more time to pour a bunch of bleach over where he found it. Needless to say the stench was removed and the room took on the sweet fragrance of the clean carpet with room fresheners with a hint of bleach.
This all reminds me of Ephesians 5:1-2
Ephesians 5:1-2 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Jesus’ love was and is a fragrance to God; the sweet smell of love wafting out of Jesus’ sacrifice to saves us from our sin (John 3:16, Romans 3:23, 5:8, 6:23), the pleasant aroma of His care (1 Peter 5:7), and the pleasant scent of His noticing and spending time with people (see the story of Zaccheaus Luke 19:1-9). God enjoys this amazing fragrance and so do we.
Yet I wonder if we are loving like Jesus, producing this wonderful bouquet of pleasant smells as we sacrifice, care, and notice and spend time with others around us. It is clear in Matthew 22:34-40, Mark 12:28-34, and Luke 10:25-28 that we are to love God and love others.
Mark 12:30-31 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
But do we love others like Jesus? Do we love our community like Jesus? Do we sacrifice our time to help our neighbors, volunteer in our schools or city events? Do we care about those around us; at work, at school, next door? Do we even notice those around us and seek to be kind and interested enough to know their name or a little about them?
It seems to me if we want to not be that stench of selfishness it would be a good idea to freshen up our lives with the fragrance of Christ. Are you? Will you? I wonder how much our community would change if we were more of a fragrance than an odor.
Seeking to be that fragrance of Christ and Love our Community Like Jesus with you,