I sat on one of my designated resting rocks along the path I hike most mornings from our home at Refuge Ranch in Mexico. Sitting and resting, I heard and saw the busy bees flitting from flower to flower. What drew my attention were the flower blossoms. They were tiny flowers and an indistinct camouflage green. From a distance they’d go unnoticed. No splashy, big blossoms here. My best guess is that the bees were attracted by the fragrance of the flowers.
The sense of smell is important to us, too. It’s very disturbing when we lose our sense of smell, as many who have suffered from Covid-19 will testify.
Ever notice how a certain smell will trigger a memory or emotion? That’s because, more than any other sense, the nose is more directly wired to the emotions and memories part of the brain. No wonder essential oils are frequently used to help adjust moods.
I like pleasing aromas (freshly baked bread, bouquets of flowers, newly mowed hay, rain, new books, electronics fresh out of the packaging) and so the imagery of being a person who spreads a pleasant aroma by his or her presence is fitting, it seems to me. Look at it the opposite way, who wants to live a life that, to others, stinks?
The Bible talks a lot about pleasant aromas. Many of the references are in the Old Testament and refer to the aroma of sacrifices the people made on an alter in worshiping God. In the New Testament the aroma imagery is in reference to Christ being the ultimate sacrifice, a pleasing aroma to God. In addition, the pleasing aroma also comes from those who seek to live the way Jesus did, a life of love toward God and those He’s placed around them.
When it comes to pleasing God most of us don’t feel compelled to offer some kind of burnt sacrifice. What’s clear when you reflect on the Holy Scriptures is that God’s plan is for us to sacrifice ourselves, that is, to live His way and not our own way.
At first thought this can strike us as being a win/lose situation, God wins and we lose. Not so. Because He’s a good God when He calls us to live sacrificially for Him it ultimately turns out to be the best way for us, too. It’s a win/win situation, putting forth the scent of sacrifice!
In God’s flower garden we’re not all big and splashy blossoms. Some of us feel like we blend in with the landscape and aren’t making much of an impact. In a social gathering we may feel like a wallflower! The fact is, little nondescript blossoms can produce a significant aroma that can be pleasing and attractive to bees or other pollinating insects. In God’s garden we who see ourselves as little, bland-colored flowers can still offer a wonderful aroma of positive influence to others and delight to God!
“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2