February 23, 2014

Odor of Life

2 Corinthians 2:12-17

We are … the pleasing aroma of Christ… To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life.
—2 Corinthians 2:15-16


Discovering other cultures is fascinating not only because of new things you see and hear, but also because of the variety of new smells. Though you might enjoy some of that from the ethnic food aisle of your grocery store, many other smells from various cultures are distinctive and rich. Even within the same region there might be dozens of ways to make a similar kind of dish—all with different blends of herbs and spices and their aromas.

Not all of the smells in a different culture may be pleasant, however. It can take some time to get used to the smells of some unfamiliar places. Worse, rotting food, animal waste, or a general lack of sanitation can make your stomach turn. And foul odors might not only be disgusting but also toxic.

Paul writes that believers who share the good news of Christ can be a kind of aroma to the people around them. For those who are ready to believe in Christ, this smell will be sweet and inviting. But for others, who think they can live any way they choose or achieve their own salvation, the aroma will be a turnoff, like the smell of death.

Let us pray that the “aroma” of our work for Jesus attracts others to come to him for the gift of eternal life.

Beautiful Savior, make my actions sweet to the senses of those around me today. Help me to reflect your beauty in a world that is full of ugly conflict and disease. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Jason Zuidema

Jason Zuidema lives in Repentigny, Quebec, with his wife, Anna, and their three children. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and currently serves as executive director of the North American Maritime Ministry Association. He is the author of a special Seafarers edition of Today devotions published by ReFrame Media in 2012.

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