Tuesday, August 22, 2017

When Andy The Pig Smelled Like a Pig

"That pig's gonna stink," people told me before Andy arrived.

"Yeah, but I'll only have him four to six weeks while he grows." How bad can it be? I thought. 

I was a little over half-way to the barn when an unpleasant odor wafted my way. It grew stronger with every step. By the time I reached the back stall on the left, the stench was nearly overpowering.

Andy smelled like a pig. Literally.

That's because Andy was a pig. 

As long as I cleaned Andy's stall every day and distributed the waste outside the barn, I kept the odor down. This particular day, however, I'd skipped the scooping for a few days.

Hiding the evidence of Andy's pigness didn't change the facts. Andy was a pig. He smelled like what he was. The longer he was in the barn, the more my barn smelled like Andy, too.

The Apostle Paul said that, like Andy, Christians have an aroma, too, and it's not always pleasant. 

"For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death; to the other from life to life..." 2 Corinthians 2:15,16 nasb

To people who don't know Christ, we Christians emit an "aroma" like rotting corpses. 

Ponder that for a moment.

Of course, we don't literally smell like a corpse, but to many people, Christians aren't as attractive as we might hope. 

There's one person who stands out in my mind in my pre-Jesus days. He was ardently evangelical with his stack of Four Spiritual Law booklets, determined to get me to "pray the prayer." 

I wouldn't.

I'd been raised in church. I knew a written prayer wouldn't save you. I knew there should be something more than a bunch of words in a booklet, but because the words were all he presented to me, I thought it was all he had. The only fragrance I could detect in his life was the aroma from death to death.

I know better now. I wish that guy with the booklet had told me about a relationship with Jesus. I've often wondered why he didn't. Maybe he didn't know, either. Over the years, I've prayed Booklet Man would find out about Jesus, too.  

Yes. There's a place for tracts, booklets, and evangelical tools, but the first century church didn't spread around the world because of words on scrolls and parchments. The church spread because one person told another person how Jesus had changed his life, and he/she backed it up by the love they demonstrated.

An aroma of death isn't pleasant. I believe we dissipate it, in a powerful way, by the love we share. Remember the woman with the alabaster vial? Her gift of extravagant love still emits an aroma of life, more than two thousands years later. 

That's the kind of aroma I want to leave behind, too - the lovely fragrance of extravagant love. 

Do those outside the church see us love each other, and them, in remarkable ways? Is love the fruit of the spirit we most exhibit?  

Is there enough of an aroma of Christ in my life for others to detect? Is love an easily recognizable fruit of the Spirit in me?

If not, we have some work to do, and it begins with an ever-deepening relationship with Jesus.

Today, let's celebrate our Savior and invite others to know Him, too.

"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:35

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In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Thoughts on the Sun, the Moon, and Totality

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