Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sweet Fragrance

photo from

“Jean was here this morning,” I commented to the church secretary as I walked into her office.

“Yes, she was! Were you looking for her?” Jennifer asked.

“No, no. I just can tell she was here,” I noted with pleasure. We shared a little smile and I went on my way.

How did I know my friend Jean had been in the church office? I could smell Jean Nate` perfume. It has been her signature fragrance for decades. Everywhere Jean goes the classy blend of spice and floral wafts on the air. A breath of it always brings a smile to my face because it immediately calls my friend to mind.

Those who sat with Jean on the school board may not associate such pleasant thoughts with Jean Nate`. My friend served on the board for many years and wasn’t one to just nod, “yes, yes” to anything and everything. She held strong opinions and had the courage to express them.

Jean's name came up at a recent group Bible study when we delved into 2 Corinthians chapter 2, verses 14-16. I love the imagery Paul's words evoke:

“God uses us to make the knowledge about Christ spread everywhere like a sweet fragrance. For we are like a sweet-smelling incense offered by Christ to God, which spreads among those who are being saved and those who are being lost. For those who are being lost, it is a deadly stench that kills; but for those who are being saved, it is a fragrance that brings life.”

Like the diverse responses created by my friend’s perfume, the message of Christ brings on a variety of reactions. Not everyone welcomes it; some are even appalled by it.

But to those who are seeking mercy, those who long for a new start, the Good News of Jesus is a like a breath of fresh air. It is invigorating and uplifting, offering hope.

God calls us to spread the knowledge about Christ everywhere. But many of us, worried about the kind of reception we will receive, are reluctant to open our mouths about our faith. How then can the sweet fragrance of grace reach others?

Let’s not keep the Good News bottled up! Pull out the stopper and allow God’s message to diffuse over hurting hearts with its life-giving hope of salvation.


©2014 Pamela D. Williams