It’s a scientific fact that we smell like the things with which we keep company. At least, if it’s not it should be. Every lost traveler who has ever stopped in at the Quickie Mart for directions knows this is true. Every Starbucks morning junkie will tell you this is a fact. Well, if they don’t, their friends can tell you. What denotes the worthiness of each smell though?
To some the Starbucks smell ranks right up there with the local landfill and the Quickie Mart next to God’s bakery. The first few times I went to Uganda, Africa, I came really close to vomiting because the smells were so potent. It was the smell of 50 Ugandans crammed with me in a 12 passenger van, all of whom had probably never used deoderant, not because they didn’t want to, but because it would require about a week’s worth of pay. But this last time that I traveled there, something changed in my perception of the stench. Because my heart was finally in tune with their drive.
Being in a van with stinky Ugandans whose hearts are totally devoted to Jesus Christ and who have given their lives to His kingdom work in spite of political unrest, economic disaster and religious persecution changes the way you smell things.
I love how Paul put it in 2 Corinthians 2:14-16, “But thanks be to God who always puts us on display in Christ and spreads through us in every place the scent of knowing Him. For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are perishing. To some we are a scent of death leading to death, but to others, a scent of life leading to life.”
Why does the world so often hate us as followers of Christ when we carry the very scent of Christ? Because they don’t understand that smell. To them it is a stench worthy of nothing more than to be thrown out with filth and rotting vermin. BUT, to the 3000 souls that come to Christ every summer in Uganda, Africa with my dad’s ministry, they are “a scent of life, leading to life.”