As we took a little walk one evening, a sweet aroma suddenly permeated our sense of smell. It was familiar; yet, it seemed a little ahead of schedule. The citrus blossoms were beginning their annual arrival, but it was surprising in that this was the only tree that was this far advanced. Citrus trees abound in our area; thus, having one tree standing out from the others was arresting.
My mind was forced back to the early years of my life in Bermuda. As Easter approached, we would smell the fields of Easter Lilies. So strong was the odor that we felt as though our nose was stuck in a bottle of perfume. It was impossible to escape that scent.
Much is said in the Scriptures about “sweet scents”, fragrances and aromas. From as early as Noah’s offering following the flood, (Genesis 8) we see how properly offered sacrifices were sweet smelling to our Lord. We also read how anything offered in an unworthy manner was repulsive to the Almighty. That should be worthy of our consideration!
As I drive around our town, Sun City, AZ, I have been reading the bulletin boards outside of the churches: “Bingo”, “This Week’s Film”, “Pancake Breakfast”, “Aerobics Class”, “Bazaar”, “Rummage Sale”, plus many others I will not note. One cannot help but feel that the church of 2006 is more a showpiece, an entertainment center, the leftover of a once vigorous organism, an exercise of futility that is flailing and failing as flat as a pancake as far as New Testament Christianity is concerned.
The Book of Acts speaks of prayer or a prayer meeting in every chapter. While burnt offerings were relegated to the past, the sacrifice of broken and contrite hearts reached the portals of Heaven, and the Lord himself. They began meeting in homes but were driven to the catacombs. The fragrance from those places of death took on a new scent and aroma that became pleasing to God. Even our evangelical churches have placed prayer on the back burner. We speak of the need for revival, but the method to procuring it is of low priority.
Paul’s words need repeating: “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the first, an aroma from life to Life; to the other, an aroma from life to eternal death. And who is adequate for these things? For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.” (2 Corinthians 2:14-17 NASB)