What is that smell?


It is a peak to the proboscis, an assault of the olfactory, a celebration for the sense of smell. It all depends on your perspective. In the 1990s, for a first-time visitor in Charleston SC, a humid overcast day could be quite shocking. The source was the local paper mill that employed hundreds and pumped millions into the local economy. I have known that odor for 60 years. I remember the first time my parents and I visited my grandmother in Charleston. I used a more common word to ask my father if he was flatulent. After the laughter stopped, my mom explained that the odor was the paper mill. 35 years later, I was pastor of a church in the heart of North Charleston. I remember a conversation with a Deacon who had worked at that mail for 30 years. “It smells like a dirty diaper,” I said. “Well, it smells like money to me,” said the Deacon. The difference was perspective.

Paul the apostle wrote in 2 Corinthians 2:15-16, “for we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To one we are the smell of death; to the other the fragrance of life...” Taken in context, Paul his writing here about those whose witness and testimony are motivated by a sense of calling those who speak before God with sincerity, spreading the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ Jesus as we go. It is truly a matter of perspective. When a follower of the Lord Jesus speaks out, some will respond positively, and some will not. When a follower of the Lord Jesus stands firmly on the principles of God’s word, some will appreciate it, and some will not. When a follower of the Lord Jesus votes biblical values over politics, some will understand, and some will not. We must remember that when standing firm and speaking boldly about the Lord Jesus, to some we will be the fragrance of life and to others we will be the smell of death,

When you choose to truly live out your faith, it will affect every part of your life. Not everyone will like you and that is not an issue. Jesus told his disciples in John 16, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but i have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” In John 17, Jesus High Priestly prayer, He prayed, “I have given them Your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of this world even as I am not of this world.”

So, be bold with your testimony, stand firm in your faith, vote biblical values, and do not be ashamed or afraid. To God, you will be the aroma of the Lord Jesus. To some you will be the fragrance of life And to others, you will be the smell of death. If there are those who hate you, you are in very good company. Just remember that the Lord Jesus has prayed and is praying for you.

I can imagine the seraphim surrounding the throne of God asking, “what’s that smell?” The Father replies, “that is the sweetest aroma in all of eternity. It is the fragrance of obedience and sacrifice. It is the fragrance of life eternal. It is my child!” Always remember, God’s perspective is the only one that truly matters.