"For we are to God the sweet fragrance of Christ to those who are being saved and to those who are perishing.
2 Corinthians 2:15....."What would be the result if every one of His people showed up 100% every day?" James Robison
In our last fellowship gathering, a couple shared about an encounter they had in the lobby of a Doctor's office. The husband was there for help with his back problems. While there, they saw a young lady, obviously stressed, enter carrying a large armful of note pads and papers. She lost her hold on them, and they fell scattered on the floor. She got down on hands and knees and the couple could she was near tears. No one else in the crowded office offered to help her. The husbands back prevented him from assisting, but his wife joined her on the floor, helping her gather up all the papers. While doing so, she discovered she was in the midst of preparing an important paper for school, and was under intense pressure. The accident just seemed a breaking point for her. The wife was able to offer encouragement and a listening heart. When all was back in order, she asked if she could pray with her, which was very much welcomed. And so the fragrance of Christ was released through this couple and wife unto one who desperately needed to "smell" that fragrance.
In their testifying, the husband said they would not have been in that place were it not for his back. They had been praying that the Lord would put them in the path of people who needed Him, and they believed that this encounter was God ordained. They were to minister to and pray for that young woman. God used a sore back to do so through them.
The church talks a lot about winning people to Christ, and it should, but I think we couch it as something we do and count the results for. It needs to be who we are, and it needs to be about something far more and greater than numbers. We look to close the deal, get the decision, and then make a tally mark. I believe the Father calls us, sends us to be a sweet fragrance of Christ to the lost, and through that fragrance, He can work to bring them to that "decision." That may not happen in the moment, and we are powerless to make it so. But He will use every fragrance as part of His process of working in a life and heart. We may not get the "credit" as the flesh counts things, but if we are one of His fragrances in that life, we are part of what He is doing in a soul's journey coming to Christ. Only in eternity will we see the extent of what our role has been in bringing a soul lost in sin into the saving grace of Christ. That couple didn't lead her to Christ that day, but they know that He used them to plant the seeds of His Life in her heart. Now the Father will use other fragrances to water them and bring the increase. That's how He works. It's what Paul meant when he said that he planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. If only we in the church could be more in tune with how He moves upon a heart.....and that we were willing fulfill our part in that work. A work where the only credit (read glory) given, is given to Him. Our part is to live as sweet aromas of Christ in all places. He honors that, and brings forth fruit. In His time and way. And here's the beauty. When such a life is what marks our life, we not only serve as seed planters and water givers, but we'll be available to Him to be present to share in the harvest/increase when He brings it forth.
I think of that crowded lobby the couple were in. Were they the only believers there? That's doubtful. If there were others, why didn't any of them respond? Likely they were more absorbed in their own concerns, needs, and priorities. In that moment, they gave off no sweet fragrance of Him. Dare it be said that they "smelled" more like ones who have never known Him?
So we come to the Robison quote. What would be the result if all of His people did show up every day? What would our neighborhoods, workplaces, and most of all, His church have the fragrance of? What do they have the fragrance of now? I know this. It is a 100% chance that you and I will encounter at least one like that young woman today. Will we see them? Or do they pass by unnoticed, unseen, uncared for? While we focus on what amounts to.....ourselves. They desperately need the fragrance of the King and His Kingdom. Are we that? Or, are we a smell of another kind?