A Pleasant Fragrance

pocketbacs

I had the most hilarious thing happen to me the other week. Okay– so maybe not the most hilarious. But it was certainly funny!

But, first, let me preface this story by filling you in on something about me–

I am just a tad bit OCD about keeping my hands germ-free.

With this being the case, I am rarely without a PocketBac. What are PocketBacs, you may ask? They are the little containers of hand sanitizer that Bath and Body Works sells in all kinds of delightful fragrances.

And before you comment or message me about how I am actually making myself less healthy and more susceptible to diseases by my constant usage of this modern day concoction, let me assure you that I do already know that. But old habits die really hard. (I am way more easygoing about this than I used to be, however– just ask my family!)

Okay, so back to the story–

A few weeks ago, I attended a conference. After lunch, I found myself growing a little tired, as I sat in a session with 15 or 20 other people. I tried to pay attention, but finally decided that perhaps a little candy might help me stay alert.

As is my habit, I first needed to make sure my hands were clean before touching something I was going to put in my mouth (even as I write this, I sound a little over-the-top. I think I may have a serious problem here!) and so I put a little dab of hand sanitizer on my hands and discreetly rubbed them together under my desk. I then put a couple of candies in my mouth and turned my attention back to the class.

Suddenly, the teacher stopped, sniffed the air, and then said, puzzled, “I smell something fruity…”

Uh-oh. I knew that the apricot-mango scent of my new pocketbac was rather strong, but I didn’t realize it was that strong. I am pretty sure that she was smelling my hand sanitizer.

I sat there like I knew nothing.

“I do, too!” said one classmate.

“Me, too…” said another.

And I continued to sit there like I knew nothing.

Finally, one lady said, “Oh, it’s the air-conditioner.”

What??

But everyone nodded their heads and murmured, “yes, it must be the AC”, the answer was accepted by the teacher as correct, and the class moved on.

I still have to chuckle when this incident comes to mind–the air conditioner??

It is absolutely amazing to me what “group think” can lead people to believe. But that’s a post for another day. I actually want to think about the word “fragrance” for a moment.

We are so often like I was as Christians. We are this pleasant fragrance of kindness and love that wafts through the room but when someone questions what that fragrance is, we hesitate to mention the name of Jesus. We will mention church but, for some reason, be scared to witness boldly about the change that Jesus Christ has wrought in our lives. So we, instead, hope that people will see that we are genuine believers and then just take in the gospel by osmosis.

But, more often, I fear, is our tendency, as believers, to not be the pleasant fragrance in the room.  Instead of bringing joy and kindness and love wherever we go, we bring gossip, anxiety, or frustration. Instead of serving, we are demanding. Instead of thankful, we are complaining. Instead of bringing humility to our roles of leadership, we bring self-righteous pride. And the stench is not pleasant but instead something that no one else wants.

So, this leads to two questions we have to ask ourselves–

1. Am I the pleasant fragrance of Christ to a lost and dying world?

2. If I am a pleasant fragrance, do people know that it’s because of Jesus Christ or do they just think I’m a “nice guy”?

As this world becomes more and more wicked and unstable, we will shine as lights if we are living for Christ. Our lives should be a beacon of hope in the darkness that surrounds us as we choose to live in obedience to God’s Word. We can choose to give God the glory in all of our circumstances — be they tragic or incredibly wonderful– and we will be the incredible fragrance of life to those who are searching.

Of course, we need to remember that we will not be a pleasant fragrance to those who are delighting in their sin and have hardened their hearts against God. But, that’s okay. That’s how Paul told us it would be (2 Corinthians 2:14-16). Our responsibility is to live a godly life and be a bold witness for Christ. God will take care of the rest.

So let’s be a pleasant fragrance today wherever we may go and let’s be sure to tell people the reason for the hope that is within us (I Peter 3:15), if given the opportunity!

 

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