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10 Minutes Peace

    by Susan McGrath

"Pleasing Aromas"
Date Posted: April 3, 2004

The scent of fallen leaves in autumn, freshly bathed babies, funnel cakes at the fair, old houses in the spring, a real Christmas tree, pot roast as you walk in the door on Sunday after a long sermon, new cars, leather, new cars with leather interiors, lemons, Play-Doh, raindrops on roses (and whiskers on kittens -- sorry, I got carried away!) -- most of us would agree these are lovely aromas.

I know smells or aromas can be more nostalgic for me than almost any sight or sound. I've read that women are very sensitive to aromas and link them closely with memories. It's true for me!

I grew up in a large old house with plaster walls and lots of woodwork. As the weather would warm up in the spring the house seemed to breathe and the aroma is not something I can describe, but if you've ever experienced it you know what I mean. It's not quite old wood mixed with fresh air, but close.

I now live in my own old house (even older than my parents' home) and I've noticed it has that same aroma. It's not as prevalent -- maybe because my house has been partly renovated, contaminated with drywall -- but when I climb the stairs, I can catch a whiff of it near the top.

It's a comforting aroma. Most people might not even notice it, but for me it smells like home.

Paul tells the Corinthians, "We are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other the fragrance of life." (2 Corinthians 2:15-16)

This means just as everyone isn't captivated by the aroma of old homes, everyone won't receive God's message from us with a big smile. Some will, though, and since we don't know which are which until we share, we must always wear our "aroma" and embrace those who embrace the gospel.

I think that like a familiar aroma is a comfort to us, something to evoke pleasant memories, or the signature of a place of refuge for us, we must be those things to our brothers and sisters in Christ and to those who are seeking to understand the message of Christ. We must strive to bring out those feelings of warmth, coming home, belonging.

At the end of verse 16 Paul asks, "And who is equal to such a task?" It does sound like a big responsibility! But he answers in the next chapter. "Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. he has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant -- not of the letter, but of the Spirit . . ." (2 Corinthians 3:5-6)

God provides the aroma. All we have to do is put it on!

During your ten minutes this week, think of your favorite aromas and praise God for the memories and the people linked to them. Then ask him to help you be the aroma of Christ!

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Biography Information:
Susan McGrath is:

a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;

living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;

completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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