DayBreaks for 10/30/19: What Will It Be?
From the DayBreaks archive, October 2009:
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Eph. 5:1-2, NIV)
To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this? (2 Cor. 2:16, NLT)
Did you take a shower or bath this morning or last night? Why? If you really get down to it, most of us shower not so much for purely hygienic reasons, but because we don’t want to…well…smell! No one wants to walk around stinking. I’ve been in a closed car with passengers who were from the street or who were homeless and I must say, at times the smell was nearly unbearable – especially in the colder time of the year when the windows couldn’t be put down. It’s not pleasant! A little sweat if you’ve been playing basketball or some other sport is one thing, but the odor of a human body that hasn’t been washed perhaps for a few weeks can be overpowering.
There is a story about a time that Dr. Lyman Beecher had received a letter which was critical of him, and when he was asked about why he didn’t reply to the letter, this is what he had to say: “One evening as I walked through a field toward my home, I encountered one of nature’s most undesirable of all creatures. I had several books in my hand which I began to throw at the creature. Unfortunately, the result of my actions was a horrible smell produced by that animal—a skunk. I determined that such an animal should be left alone.”
To a large extent, how we respond to situations determines whether or not we give off a life-giving perfume or the rotting smell of dead flesh. There will always be unbelievers (those who are perishing, according to the 2 Cor. 2:16 passage above) who will find anything to do with us to be offensive (because we carry a message that they don’t want to accept). We can’t compromise that message. But how we deliver it can also either be sweet smelling, or downright repugnant. Dr. Beecher understood that it was his actions that caused the skunk to release its powerful odor. He could have ignored the creature, but his own actions were hostile and elicited the release of “skunk perfume.”
If we choose to respond to attacks and criticism in a fleshly, non-Christian way, only evil will result. Even if we respond in a Christian way, we may still be persecuted and the persecution may increase. But at least if we respond as Jesus would have responded, we will present ourselves as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. And after all, isn’t He who we want to please?
Let’s not be vindictive and small minded. There are greater things at stake than just our own comfort. Jesus took the nails – the least we can do is take some criticism in a God-honoring way.
PRAYER: Our nature, Lord, is to strike back any time that we are hurt, criticized or offended. Let us learn to place all such things at your feet and trust you to deal with them in due time so that we may present ourselves to you as a fragrant offering! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>