“Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” Ephesians 5:2
Right from the get-go, I need to be upfront.
My analogy today is – well, to be honest, it stinks.
You might even say it’s downright crappy.
But I’ll leave you to decide that for yourself.
So – Brent and I went kayaking yesterday. It was a pleasant temperature, the leaves were past their prime but still beautiful, I was happily scurrying along the lakeshore using my app that identifies plants.
All was well with the world. So far, so good.
Then we saw it.
A pile of poo.
No biggie. Animals never seem to have gotten the memo about toilet training, so we outdoors types take it in stride.
Except – this was some funky doo-doo.
It was crammed full of crunchy bits – crayfish parts, water beetle exoskeletons, a veritable crustacean smorgasbord, delightfully and meticulously placed on the crest of a large log right at the water’s edge.
And it spoke to us!! Loud and clear!
(No, silly. Not audibly. I’m not THAT messed up.)
But speak, it did, giving clear and unmistakable evidence of the presence of otters.
Now bear with me as I connect this to today’s verse…
See, you and I leave unmistakable traces of our daily lives in our corner of the world – evidence of our presence.
And I want to know – what kind of smell are you leaving behind?
In the Old Testament, the principle of sacrifice was super important, and a huge part of Israel’s worship. More than once, God refers to the process of putting an animal on an altar as producing a ‘pleasing aroma’.
I’m sure you’ve all been to a barbecue! Mmmm, mmmm, does that smell good!
Here the Apostle Paul connects their rich history of worship with the sacrifice of Jesus, who laid Himself down on the altar in giving His life in exchange for ours. Don’t miss the deep significance of the phrase ‘a pleasing aroma to God’. Jesus’ act of selfless obedience was just like offering God the ultimate sacrifice – in fact, the sacrifice to end all sacrifices! That act ‘smelled good’ to God. . Like a breath of fresh air.
What does this have to do with poo, you ask?
We have a daily choice. We can do as Paul suggests here and follow the example of Jesus, living a life marked by love and obedience, thereby creating a beautiful fragrance, a sacrificial offering to God.
Or we can live for ourselves.
But that literally creates a stink…
So I’ll ask you again – what kind of smell are you leaving behind?
The stench of selfishness? The rot of ingratitude? The bitter pungency of judgmental attitudes?
Or the gorgeous freshness of humility, patience, kindness, and love?
What we do and think actually reveals a LOT. It speaks to our character. Where we’ve been.
And where we’re going…
Cultivate a pleasing aroma with me?
Father, forgive us when we make choices that leave a rank odour in Your presence! Bless us with hearts and minds and hands that will willingly follow the example of Jesus and create a delightful aroma! Amen.