On walks or bike rides, I take many pictures of trees, bushes and flowers. It never ceases to amaze me how a grand transition takes place every spring from the gray and brown, to tinges of green, and finally into the array of color we experience in late April.
One especially beautiful flowering tree, is the pear tree. Its white explosions are bursting forth all over town. When walking downtown one day I was struck by the way the white buds shone against the sky and buildings. The blossoms seemed to inhale sunlight, exhaling in white as bright as glistening angel wings.
Then I walked under a few of them and I got a whiff of air that turned my stomach. I thought, there must be a nearby restaurant throwing out rotten food or something? When I walked back through that spot, I went up very close and took a deep sniff of a branch. It smelled completely different than I expected it would. I’ve admired these trees for so many years, but I never realized the stench they emanated.
The smell of the beautiful tree reminded me of how we can be sometimes. Is it possible that we are concerned about the looks of our church, our ministry, or our bodies, or the impressions others have of us? So much time is spent on our hair, what we wear, how our blogs and webpages look, the landscaping and carpet color at our church-the covers of our books. It seems so important to put a false front out there so we look like we have it all together, when maybe we are thinking and doing things that we wouldn’t want others to know.
Would I want others to know what I’m really like inside and let it show? Would they still like me? Would the thoughts and actions that flow out of me make someone want to know my Lord? I might want to look “religious” and have all my t’s crossed and i’s dotted. If I go to church each week like a good woman, give to charity, dress neatly, say the right things, or pray correctly, then people will think I’m a good Christian. Why does that matter?
The pear tree looks beautiful but the aroma doesn’t do anyone any good. I love to look at these trees but don’t want to get close to them. You know how the smell of a pizza restaurant can draw you right inside? I’ve been reminded that I need to be a pleasing aroma of Christ to others. I need to show love, give love, and be like Jesus. If I am, then others will want to know my Jesus. It’s important that I speak with sincerity to bring life, causing others to desire to know the Lord. If I emit a negative odor by speaking about God out of pride or for my own profit, I am bringing death. What kind of odor do I put forth into the world?
Lord, please help me to be the aroma of Christ in my world each day.
Read it for yourself in 2 Corinthians 2:14-17.