A long time ago I heard about a village in the south of France where expensive perfumes were made. It was the major industry in this little rural hamlet and many of the residents worked there. A unique phenomenon developed and I fell in love with the story. It goes like this…
All through the day the workers combined the ingredients for the perfumes, tweaking for subtle fragrance changes. They extracted raw materials, mixed them per precise formulas, stored them in large containers for future use, filled the bottles, and boxed them for shipping. With that much exposure to the intense aromas, by the end of the day the workers were understandably saturated with the residuals. It was on their shoes, on their clothing, in their hair, on their skin, in the very air they breathed.
At 6:00pm each day the big chime rang out from the church tower indicating the end of the work day. The workers filed out through the little factory doors and headed down the lanes toward their homes. But so pervasive were the smells and so saturated were the workers, their very presence permeated the ambience in the village and made it a sweeter place. Because they had been exposed to the sweet source of the fragrance they, collectively, changed the very atmosphere of their town.
I’ll bet you like the story, too; it has parallels draped all over it. Because they had absorbed the essence of the magnificent aroma, their collective presence wafted over the town where they live and changed the very atmosphere. Sounds like church to me.
I like to envision that as the congregation spills out from the worship center each Sabbath about noon, a tangible sweet aroma wafts out over the parking lot and precedes them into town, changing the very atmosphere of the place in the ensuing week. Listen: “God…helps us spread the knowledge about Christ everywhere, and this knowledge is like the smell of perfume. In fact, God thinks of us as a perfume that brings Christ to everyone. For people who are being saved, this perfume has a sweet smell and leads them to a better life.” (IICor 2:14-16CEV)
Several months ago a friend of mine was attending a planning session of the National Prayer Committee in Florida. It had been a powerful, spiritually intimate time. During the break the key speaker approached my friend and said, “You know, you smell like Jesus.” When the meeting reconvened he repeated what he had said to her, then added to the whole group, “But as I worship with you here, I discover you all smell like Jesus.” I can think of few compliments any more significant than that one. Because “…God thinks of us as a perfume that brings Christ to everyone.”
So, let’s gather in His presence, soak up the fragrance of His holiness, then collectively waft over the communities we serve and ask that He might be honored.
-By Don Jacobsen