Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What's That Smell?

My nose is very sensitive. Every time I walk into the house, I sniff  and ask, “What’s that smell?” I love to light scented candles to cover up any unpleasant smells in the house. I give them as gifts as well because I figure everyone has unpleasant odors at one time or another in their home. 

Years ago I worked in a human resources office. On one occasion a grateful man brought me a frozen package of shrimp just to say thank you for some small thing I had helped him to do. I tried not to accept it, but he insisted I take the package as a gesture of appreciation. So I took the package and put it in my desk drawer. It was Friday and I thought, I’ll tuck the package away here and then take it home for the weekend. I could just taste shrimp cooking on the grill. However, when it came time to go home I forgot the package and took off for the weekend. 

Needless to say, when we returned on Monday morning there was quite a nasty smell in the office. People were covering their noses and their eyes were watering. I was just as curious as everyone else to find the source of the awful, stinky odor until I suddenly remembered the frozen shrimp package. 

“Oh no,” I exclaimed. I ran and opened my desk drawer and nearly fainted at the smell permeating from the desk. 

“Everyone run for your lives!” I heard my co-workers shout as they rushed from the office to fresh air, coughing and gagging as they went. I wrestled the package, which was now dripping shrimp juice all over the floor, out of the desk and escorted it outdoors. Everyone parted to one side as I passed down the hallway carrying the leaky package of smelly, thawed shrimp. I flung it into a nearby trash bin, feeling guilty that what had been intended as a nice gift was now rotting in a trash heap. We sprayed the office with air freshener and opened all of the windows, but the smell of spoiled shrimp filled every nook and cranny of the office building. I received more dirty looks and glares for a long time after that incident. It wasn’t soon forgotten. 

“Why did you have frozen shrimp in your desk?” my boss asked, holding a hanky over his nose as tears ran down his cheeks. 

“It was a gift from a grateful person,” I admitted. “I forgot it was there. I guess it defrosted in my desk drawer.” 

“Well from now on just accept cash,” he said, returning to his office. 

I kept my head down and worked as hard as I could for the rest of the day. I didn’t eat shrimp for a long time after that. Every time I saw or smelled shrimp I would gag. 

Our lives can be stinky sometimes too. We allow things into our lives and into our thinking that really smell. We believe no one will notice, especially God, but the odor is a dead giveaway.  

We may think, hey, I don’t smell, but in II Corinthians 2:14 it says, “But thanks 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.” 

We actually carry the fragrance of life when we accept Christ into our lives. Yet we sometimes hold onto smelly habits such as gossiping, cheating, deceit, greed and unforgiveness. If we allow these things to remain, they will eventually permeate through all areas of our lives. 

Then, instead of leaving a fragrance that is pleasing to the Lord, we leave a stinky trail behind us, driving others away rather than drawing them to Christ. 

There may be things we have tucked away in the back corners of our lives that we have not dealt with in a while. Let’s open up all the areas of our lives to Christ and ask ourselves, “What’s that smell?” 

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