There are many synonyms for fragrance; aroma, odor, cologne, perfume, and smell to name a few. Each word brings a picture to mind. Cologne may spark a memory of hugging your grandmother whereas aroma could bring a flood of Thanksgiving feast memories of turkey cooking and homemade pumpkin pie.
One of the most pungent scents I can think of is the smell of a campfire. Sitting around the fire ring on a camping trip is packed with family memoires from storytelling to marshmallow roasts to make sh’mores. You couldn’t stay put in one chair or even designate a log as yours for the smoke was so unpredictable shifting constantly. As soon as you’d move it would change direction.
The time eventually came to pack up camp and head home. As soon as the clothing bag entered the laundry room and was opened I could smell the campfire. The smoke had permeated every square inch of every item bringing a smile to my face each time. I love the smell of a campfire; I guess it is because of the memories.
Fragrance brings a totally different picture; it is of colorful gardens, floral shops and flower arrangements. Each flower carries its own fragrance and some fragrances are so light our sense of smell cannot even detect it. Fragrances can be spicy or musky, sweet or sour, each is unique to particular flowers. My favorite is lilies with roses not far behind but with roses each bred has a fragrance which is slightly different. For flowers to release their fragrance they must first open up and be vulnerable. If the bud stays tight we would never smell its unique fragrance. Only when the flower dies and is crushed does it release its full potential.
The mint leaf had only a little fragrance until it dies, is dried and crushed. Then the fragrance is so potent it can overwhelm many other smells. At the Celestial Seasons tea company in Boulder Colorado they produce mint tea. To be able to do it though they had to give mint its own room, the mint room, which is sealed off from all other areas of production. If they didn’t do this it would weave its way into all the other flavors of tea.
2 Corinthians 2:14-15 tells us “through us God spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved.” Fragrance, like mint and campfire smoke, lingers after you have left the mint room or camp ground. We are a fragrance, our lives our words, our actions should be remembered by those whose lives we touch.
My daughter Beth was a wonderful example of being the fragrance of Christ, when her name came up in conversation or on an invitation list people spoke only well of her and her love for God. On her swim team she was given the title “Social Butterfly”. To her there were no clicks. When she saw a team mate standing alone she would draw them into the circle. What had first started as the ‘popular’ group, we all know what that means, and the ‘outcasts’ became “The swim team”. No one was left out when Beth was around. She would light up a room by simply entering for her attitude was always one of love and joy, Christ’s fragrance.
We are all created as individuals; the fragrance of Christ will ‘smell’ different for each of us. There is one common ingredient we all need though, a willingness to be His aroma.
What aroma do you want to remain when you leave?
A life fragrance is our reputation. Our lives may be the only sermon some people may ever hear.