Odor or Aroma?
My backyard finally smells good again.
For the past two months, an odd odor has emanated from three trees and lingered all around the outside of my house. Others across south Florida have described the smell as a musky combination of sweet fragrance mixed with rotten eggs. Not a pleasant experience, but my neighbors and I tolerate the odor because of what we know will follow in late spring and summer.
Mangos. A bumper crop of mangos.
The experience of the past couple of months started me thinking about odors and aromas. Scientists tell us that because of the way our brain processes scents, smells have the power to immediately trigger a detailed memory or even intense emotion.
Scents can originate from a huge variety of sources. There have even been efforts to organize scents into seven primary categories:
- Musky: for example, perfumes
- Putrid: rotten eggs
- Pungent: vinegar
- Camphoraceous: mothballs
- Ethereal: dry cleaning fluid
- Floral: roses
- Peppermint: candy
But what about people? I’m not referring to those whose hygiene practices are questionable. Rather, I’m thinking about the odor or aroma the Bible says you and I leave behind through our words and actions. For example:
- Ephesians 5:1-2 (ESV) tells us that when Christ sacrificed Himself for us, His sacrifice was a “fragrant offering” to God. Therefore, we should imitate Christ and walk in love as He loves us.
Do you and I love others as Christ loves us?
- 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 (ESV) reminds us that as followers of Christ, we spread the “fragrance” of the knowledge of Jesus everywhere. But that fragrance is not always well-received. The apostle Paul goes on to note “we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.”
Are you and I bold to share the gospel—the good news—of salvation with others, in the hope that it will be to them a fragrance of life?
- Philippians 4:18 (ESV) shows us that when we give of our resources to others, especially to further the work of the gospel, it’s a fragrant offering, not just to them, but also to God.
Are you and I generous in supporting and encouraging those who are doing Kingdom work?
- Revelation 5:8 (ESV) reminds us that even our prayers are as fragrant incense that rises before God in heaven.
Do my prayers and yours focus on a litany of petitions or do they rise up with the sweet fragrance of intimacy when we enter our heavenly Father’s throne room?
The scent of my mango trees in bloom is not odious to me because I know what it represents. May our lives transmit a sweet fragrance to others, in thought, word, and deed, as we represent our Savior!