What's that smell?

When Frank and I first married, we moved to South Carolina where Frank began his first job "in the real world".  We rented our first apartment - brand new, 2nd floor, 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, kitchen/den combo.  Not long our we got settled, our new neighbor moved in.  Kim had just gotten her first job in our town as a pharmacist and had the most beautiful southern draw.  She and I became fast friends as we were both new to town, and Frank was working 3rd shift.  Our front doors were exactly ten steps apart and were always open!

One evening she came rushing into my apartment screaming in her fun southern accent, "Susan, something in my apartment stinks!  I've taken out the garbage, I've scrubbed the counters, the floor, the stove... I think I'm going  crazy."

I walked over and quickly agreed - something smelled just awful... rotten, horrible!  I walked around trying to find the source... with no luck.  We couldn't wait for Frank to get home, because even back then... 😀... he could find any lost item, fix any broken thing... and we were just sure - he could find and remedy the awful odor.

Before Frank began his investigation, he offered a couple of options that might define the problem - a dead rodent was his best theory.  Kim (and I) were mortified at that thought.  He was quite dramatic as he opened kitchen drawers and cabinets, checking corners of the pantry, peering under the sink.  Finally, he announced that he had solved the mystery.  He reached his hand down in the sink's garbage disposal and retrieved the smallest, most rank, piece of raw chicken you could never imagine.  Problem solved - sink scrubbed and disinfected - happy apartment dweller.

How could one little rotten piece of chicken cover an entire apartment with such a stench?  It was almost unbelievable.  I went back over early the next morning to check it out - yes, for sure, the odor had been removed.

Studying through 2 Corinthians through a wonderful Bible study (Kelly Minter/All Things New), we pondered through chapter two last week.  Verses 14 and 15 have played over and over in my mind with such intensity.

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.  For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

We, those who belong to Christ, have the privilege of actually being/"carrying" this sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus - the gospel - the good news of salvation!  This knowledge brings life over death, power over weakness, forgiveness over sin... eternal life.

One question we were to answer:  What does the fragrance of Christ look like on a person?
I heard: gentleness, grace-filled, patient, joyous, pleasant, welcoming, inviting...

A couple of weeks ago, we bumped into Kellie's kindergarten teacher in a restaurant.  We were so thrilled to see her, so we hugged each other with excitement.  Kellie whispered, "you still smell the same - so sweet!".  Now keep in mind, Kindergarten for Kellie was 21 years ago, but we remember well that first year of school.  She was very sad to be at school, to be away from her mom all day - she cried... a lot... most of the day... for weeks.  Her sweet teacher offered comfort, grace, welcome, gentleness and patience and joy each day as Kellie adjusted to her new daily experience.  Maybe she still wears the same perfume she wore 20+ years ago, but I believe the reality is that Kellie remembered the fragrance of her teacher's kindness.

So... what about you?  Would the list above describe you?  Are you striving to share the love of Christ through your actions, attitudes and words?

Much food for thought for me this week - and not the rotten chicken in the disposal...

Heavenly Father,
Give me Your strength to face this week ready to bring the knowledge of Jesus - the exquisite, sweet scent of Christ, to others.

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