Monday, May 30, 2016
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I'm so glad we have lots of things around our house that bloom when Spring pushes out Old Man Winter. Now, if you have allergies, you probably don't look forward to Spring, but I hope you can at least enjoy some of its extravagant beauty. And it isn't just things to see.
Every year, as I'm rushing around the yard doing my chores, I catch this beautiful scent every time I pass by this one flowering bush. It's actually not far from our trash cans; not the most fragrant item in our yard. But I love to catch the aroma of those flowers. I love it when the iris and the peonies start to bloom (I would have no idea what they were if my wife didn't tell me). They give off this inviting fragrance, like this fantastic yard perfume!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Unforgettable You."
A dear friend of ours wore this distinctive perfume for all the years we knew her-it was her trademark scent really. You could close your eyes and you knew it was her. At her funeral, our pastor talked about that perfume and the fragrant trail she always left wherever she went with the life she lived. She touched ours and so many others with the fragrance of her life.
That's how it's supposed to be for anyone who belongs to Jesus Christ; leaving a trail of fragrant blessing wherever you go, with whomever you meet. How are you doing on that? Like those flowers in our yard, there should be this compelling beauty about your life that brings beauty into theirs. Even if there's a lot of trash in their life right now. The fact is we all give off some kind of fragrance with the way we treat people, the way we handle stress, whether we make people feel more or less important, whether we bring sunshine or clouds into a situation. This would be a good day for you to evaluate: what kind of trail, what kind of life-fragrance do I leave?
One man who shows us the kind of trail we're supposed to leave is written about in our word for today from the Word of God. It's in Acts 4:36-37. At a time when the just-birthed Christian community had many needs it says, "Joseph...whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet." This man had left such a trail of encouragement the apostles actually changed his name to fit the impact he made. They called him "Mr. Encouragement." If people were to change your name to something that describes the effect you have on them, what would they call you?
That name should reflect at least one of the qualities of what the Bible calls the "fruit of the Spirit"; that is, the kind of person the Holy Spirit makes you. According to Galatians 5:22-23, you should be giving off a fragrance of "Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." So how are you doing with that?
Do people feel that you care about their need? Do you stop to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice? Are you calm in the midst of the frenzy or are you just another stress-carrier? Do people feel important when they're with you because you listen to them and focus on them? Do they feel lifted up or put down by being around you? People are so starved for praise and appreciation. If you give it, you will be a magnet.
And all this is so they will want to know why you're so different from everybody else in their busy, self-centered, self-promoting universe. A life with a beautiful fragrance gives you the opportunity to point them to the One who makes you that way because of how He has treated you, and that of course is Jesus. In the words of Matthew 5:16, they will "See your good works" and ultimately they will "praise your Father in heaven." Your fragrant life can help lead them to eternal life.
When people pass your way, would you let them catch a whiff of Jesus so they, too, can experience His love.