But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 (NIV)
Living on the west coast of Florida as we do, seafood is a big part of our diet. In fact, we live for all you can eat shrimp night at a local seafood restaurant. We are not the first to choose that way of life. The area where we live was once covered with shell middens, garbage dumps for the prehistoric peoples who lived off the sea. Clams and oysters along with other seafood sustained them. They piled the shells along the coast and built their house on top of them. There were so many that the early explorers talked of the white hills that gleamed in the sunlight along the coast. Unfortunately, almost ninety percent of these mounds were destroyed at the beginning of the twentieth century, and their contents used for road fill. Today, only a fraction of them survive. Getting rid of leftover seafood is a greater problem for me. I can’t toss our refuse out the back door, but have to wait for the twice weekly garbage pickup. Since I am the only one who remembers to take the trash out to the street, it is often a lot less frequently. I brought home a large back of leftover boiled shrimp from the Grand Opening this weekend. Youngest son, who has decided to become a modified vegetarian (he is swearing off beef and chicken-at least as long as the current girl in his life who is a vegan holds sway). So, he is enjoying the shrimp for snacks and eating fish for dinner. Last night, we had some stuffed with crabmeat dressing. It tasted really good, but the smell filled the house while it was cooking. He also forgot to dump his shrimp tails in the trash and left them on a plate beside his chair. When I came home from work this evening, I was overwhelmed with the odor of shrimp tails and fish. It is really disgusting even though I made him take out the trash. He doesn’t seem to smell it, but I can’t get away from it even though I decorated the house with very strong mulled cider Christmas candles. Those smell wonderful so I take refuge near the mantel where their scent drifts down upon me. I try not to go into the kitchen if I can help it. I think I need some candles in there as well. I was reminded of the difference in smells when I read this passage in 2 Corinthians. We are to be the aroma of Christ. We are to be fragrant and sweet smelling in a world that stinks like a garbage can full of shrimp tails. We are to bring the good news of His salvation and everlasting life, not leave them empty and unfulfilled. How about you? How do you smell these days? When you leave a room, do people remember the delightful fragrance of Christ? Or do they wave their hands in front of their face, say “phew” and run for the air freshener?