As I was writing the date on the top of my note page first thing this morning, I had to stop and smile as I realized that today marks the 44th anniversary of the day my wife and I started dating at Montgomery High School at the very beginning of the school year in 1970. I can remember that time in our lives very clearly. I recall that flutter in my stomach every time we got together and then could hardly wait to call her as soon as we walked to our separate cars in the parking lot after school. Since we didn’t have cell phones in those days, I had to wait until each of us got home so we could talk on the land line phones!
Actually, I had a job right after school, so I had to develop a great amount of self-control in order to make it through the 2 or 3 hours at work until I could get home and call her. At that time I was employed at a printing shop doing everything from folding newspapers as they came off the machine, stapling books together, making deliveries and cleaning restrooms! But you know who I was thinking about the whole time! Funny… some things never changed over the years like how I still think about her all the time and get those flutters when I lay eyes on her!
It is interesting to me how the countenance of an individual can set the mood for your interaction with them. My wife’s sparkling personality, the twinkle of mischief in her eyes and the smile on her face always set me at ease and has been the facilitator of my complete honesty and openness with her over the 44 years of our relationship.
The writer of 2 Corinthians 2:14 says that “I am grateful that God always makes it possible for Christ to lead us to victory, and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of knowing him.” (Contemporary English Version and International Standard Version) That verse makes me think about how the sweet fragrance of a woman’s perfume can linger in a room long after she leaves. My wife has never been one to wear a lot of makeup or perfume, but I always was aware of the presence of her fragrance when I would walk around her dresser or open the doors to her clothes closet.
I think that Paul was inferring that same thing when he wrote of “spreading the fragrance of knowing him.” I believe that Christians have the potential to leave the fragrance of the beautiful presence of a life that is sold out to Jesus everywhere they go. And it isn’t so much what we say or do, but the countenance of our person. It is the peace on our faces, the love that emanates from us and the fearless and refreshing smile upon our lips.
Psalm 43:5 declares that “I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” The Greek translation of this Psalm describes the word “countenance” as ones “person, presence or appearance.” (Strong’s) So this can be said to be stating that Papa God gives us a healthy appearance that is seen through our life of peace, joy and love, even when things are a little unsettling around us.
I can remember attending a confidential meeting years ago with my manager and Personnel rep in a brand new supervisorial position I had just been promoted into. The meeting was held in a somewhat secret room located behind another room in the basement of one of the buildings on the work campus. It was known as “The Bunker!” We were there to discuss the final steps of an on-going discipline problem with one of the employees I had just inherited. To say the least, there was a bit of tension in that room!
After filling me in with all the details of the long running situation along with the course of action that my manager felt was needed, they asked for my opinion on the matter. To be honest, I don’t remember what I said, but when I was done speaking both of the other individuals in the room looked at each other, smiled with a sort of relieved look on their faces and my manager stated, “I think that we are going to have to call you the lawyer!” Whatever I said, or more likely the manner in which I calmly and softly stated my thoughts, calmed down the process and helped us to make a uniformed and just decision. And yes the employee was let go, but even that conversation went off calmly and ended on a positive note.
Again, I believe that this is what Paul was inferring when he spoke of how we leave the sweet fragrance of Jesus behind wherever we go! You and I may never know how much our friendly “Hello” to the person we pass on the sidewalk blessed them. I may have mentioned before of the time when my wife (fiancé at the time) and I went to a InterVarsity Christian Fellowship meeting when we were away at Chico State College in north central California, when a young man stood up and testified how a young couple had blessed him at his job at MacDonald’s one night when they openly held hands and prayed over their meal right in the middle of the restaurant. Well, as it turns out… that couple was us! We had no idea that something we always did as part of our Christian faith was going to bless someone we didn’t even know was watching!
Have you ever thought about what kind of scent or fragrance you leave behind? Is it pleasing to others or distasteful? On the negative side, I can also recall times when I worked at The Home Depot when the fragrance of some customer’s perfume made me want to gag! Is that the way you want people to remember you? I think not! I think you’d much rather be the sweet fragrance of His love, of His peace and of His joy in the life of someone who might be having a difficult day! So go out this week and make someone’s day… by just being yourself! Have a great week. Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Who’s SCENT am I expecting to LEAVE BEHIND today?”