“The Aroma of Christ’s Love”
You never know what you might hear when the best man proposes a toast at a wedding reception. Everything depends of course, on the relationship between the best man and the groom. Not to mention whether he’s already had a few drinks too many. And whether he’s comfortable as a public speaker. Guests may hear fond memories, gentle ribbing, old jokes, and stories that have never been told—and should remain untold.
Every now and then there are moments of raw honesty, which prompt those in attendance to hold collective breath.
One pastor remembers such an occasion. The best man was the groom’s brother. He stood, turned to his brother and said, “It’s no secret to anyone here that I have never liked you.” Now that’s an interesting way to begin a toast. “All of our lives we have fought and argued and been like oil and water. We are very different in many ways. But I have grown to love the person you have become since the day you met her.” And he looked straight at the bride: “The more you are with her, the more I am drawn to you. The more you are with her, the more I see you the best version of yourself.”
As I reflected on this unusual moment, I realized it provided a profound picture of how being with Jesus has the power to change us.
It can’t be denied that outsiders have the grounds for believing that church people who hang out with other church people sometimes become more angry, rigid, and even hateful. But there’s a discernible difference when people choose to spend more time with Jesus. The more we are with Him, the more people will experience the best version of ourselves. Hypocrites become more authentic. Liars begin to value the truth. Judgmental people begin to exhibit softer hearts. Arrogant people become more approachable.
Author Rita Snowden remembers sitting in a café late one afternoon in Dover, England. As she was sipping her tea, she was suddenly overwhelmed by an astonishing fragrance. It was one of the most pleasant aromas she had ever smelled. It was being carried by the workers from a nearby perfume factory. They were walking home from work and their clothing was permeated by the fragrances they had been working on all day long.
Everywhere we go, we carry around the aroma of who we truly are and what we genuinely believe.
The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 2:14-15: “But thanks to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved.”
May those we meet today catch a scent of something beautiful, humble, and hopeful in our lives. And ultimately come to realize that because we’ve been with Him, we’re slowly becoming the best version of ourselves.
Ron Naylor, Chaplain