The Aroma of Christ
by Kim Allen, Director of SHINE Children's Ministry
I have a generous friend. Actually, I have many generous friends, but this one, in particular, has blessed my life in too many ways to count.
One of my favorite memories of her was when we were together at a retreat and shared a room. As we were getting dressed for the day, I realized I had left my perfume at home. I just happened to say it aloud. She instantly pulled out of her travel case a sample-size of her perfume and insisted I take it. Even though it wasn’t my own favorite scent, I did use it that weekend and smelled just like my dear friend. I’ve kept that small bottle for two years now. Sometimes, just for the fun of it, I will dab it on, which always reminds me of her friendship. Smelling like her reminds that I want to be more like her: more generous. The impact of her simple gesture still affects me today.
Her kindness reminds me of the verse in 2 Corinthians 2:14-15, where Paul refers to the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ in believers. This knowledge of Christ permeates the life of a believer in thought, word, and deed and shows others, much like a perfume reminds us of someone, what His true character is like. This aroma shows itself profoundly in generosity, just like my generous friend.
Generosity is where the rubber meets the road, at least in my life. I am generous toward my kids and my husband (most of the time) but I fail in generosity, even with my closest friends. Why am I so selfish? What is it that makes me so stingy?
The easy answer is “my sinful nature,” which is undoubtedly true, but there is a fuller explanation. I think that when it all comes down to it, I am resistant to be generous because I am not willing to let go of those things that bring me (false) security. What if I need this later? What if next month’s paycheck is somehow not enough? What if something/someone else comes along and I’ve already given this away?
I can make every excuse under the sun, but I can’t make myself generous. Only God can give me a generous heart, one that shares freely what has already been shared with me from His hand. My prayer is that I will become more generous—not just financially, but with time and affection and encouragement so that Christ’s aroma impacts those around me.
Where is the aroma of Christ evident in your own life? In what ways are you convicted by the Holy Spirit that your own selfishness is smothering His fragrance toward others? Generosity is at the top of my own list. What’s at the top of yours?
The Breadbox is our Children's Ministry email. This monthly publication arrives chock-full information about SHINE, but also tips and resources on how you can disciple your small people.