My daughter and I hugged a lot when she was little. Even when she got to be a grownup college student, we would still declare "hug alerts." Sometimes, when I hug my daughter, she'll say, "You smell like Daddy." Now, I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Now she hugs other men, of course - her husband, most of all, her brothers. She tells me that they smell like themselves, too. I guess it's good that I smell like Daddy - I'd hate to smell like someone else. The fact is that people do have a distinctive aroma, whether it's pleasant or unpleasant. And we remember the smell they leave behind.
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You about "Your Lingering Aroma."
Our word for today from the Word of God actually talks about the fragrance you should be remembered for. It's in 2 Corinthians 2:14. "Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him."
You probably know someone who is preceded by the aroma of their cologne or perfume or after shave - and whose aroma lingers even after they move on. Now the impact of your life is described in this verse as a fragrance - and it's the knowledge of Christ. In other words, people should be thinking of Jesus after you pass by. They should have had a taste of Jesus by being around you. Do they?
Modern Christianity tends to measure our influence by our actions - the words you speak, the groups you lead, the good deeds you do, the people you help, the activities you support. But your greatest impact on lives does not come through the actions you do - it comes through the atmosphere you create. And everywhere you are, you are creating some kind of atmosphere, some kind of aroma. The question is - what kind?
When you walk into your home, what aroma do you bring? Stress or peace? Gentleness or harshness? Affection or coldness? A servant spirit or self-centeredness? What kind of atmosphere accompanies you at work or at school - that you're all about yourself or you're all about others? Patience or impatience? A positive attitude or a negative one? Thankfulness or complaining?
After all is said and done, people may not remember much of what you said or most of what you did. But they will remember the atmosphere you left behind - how they feel when you're around. It could even be that your positive actions are actually cancelled out by the stinky atmosphere you bring - the stress, the insensitivity, and the criticism you create while you're doing all those good things. You can be doing great stuff and have a lousy attitude and drag people down. What people are supposed to experience by being around you is "the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus." Remember what impressed even the enemies of Christ. It's in Acts 4:13 - "They took note that these men had been with Jesus." Even though they were against those men, they noticed that they had been around Jesus and they reminded them of Jesus.
Your aroma is there longer than you are. And the aroma you should be leaving is the finest fragrance of all - the Essence of Jesus.