Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment.
There are many scents to be enjoyed in the summertime. I enjoy the smells of grilling out, campfires, newly mown grass, and the freshness of the earth after a good rain. These scents are appealing to us, and they call for a response. We salivate. We inhale deeply. We exhale with an “Aaah.” Fathom the God who has given us the scents and the sense to take them in! Worship him for it!
God has given us these and so many other things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17). But none of them should have our worship. We press through them to praise God as the Giver. There is one scent, however, that is to be enjoyed more than all. That scent is the aroma of God himself in the person of Christ. We have the unbelievable opportunity to be that aroma to our neighbors this summer. And it is a matter of life and death.
Thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.
—2 Corinthians 2:14–16
The Apostle Paul was a happy captive of the triumphant Christ. His will had been conquered by King Jesus. He was willing to suffer for him and even die for him. He was glad to be the aroma of Christ and to tell of his breathtaking life and mediating work on the cross. Some would love the smell and live. Some would be repulsed by it and die. For him, to live was Christ and to smell like him wherever he went, no matter what the response.
You can tell when someone has been close to a campfire by the smell of smoke and burning logs. You can also tell when someone is close to Jesus by the evidence of a heart burning for him. We say things like, “He’s different”; “she’s heavenly-minded”; “he’s sacrificial”; “she’s so generous.” People like that smell like Jesus to their neighbors. What would your neighbors say you smell like? What would mine say?
Many of my neighbors know that my wife, JoAnna, and I are Christians. Some know I am a pastor. But this summer, we are being more intentional about spreading the aroma of our lives. We are doing it by hosting a Backyard Bible Club with some friends from church and others who live in our neighborhood.
It is not ours to determine how people will respond to our efforts to bring the gospel of Jesus to them. We simply want to depend on Jesus and be faithful witnesses to what he has done for our souls.
The aroma of Christ is a savory scent. Some will smell it as savory and it will mean life for them. It will mean the stench of death for others. This reality is God’s design. Paul lived it and pointed it out to us. Now we live it. This helps me take great courage as we approach hosting our BYBC. All will smell, and some may savor! Either way, the glory of God will shine in the gospel of Jesus Christ going public.
We are praying that many BYBCs would spring up this summer all over the metro. If you would like more information about how to host one, or teach, or help in some way, please let us know by contacting Julie Norris (612-455-3481).
Whether you participate in a club or not, let’s all let summer look like prayer walks, rubbing shoulders with the neighbors down the street, and taking advantage of all the opportunities we have to share the savory aroma of Christ.
Pastor for Child & Youth Discipleship, North Campus