Several weeks ago, Susan, our dear neighbor from across the street, reminded me that Pat, who has become a de facto member of our family, was going to be celebrating a birthday today. Now one of Pat’s favorite restaurants is the Weber Grill in downtown Indy; and Susan was planning a small dinner to mark Pat’s special day.
What a treat it was! Neither Janet nor I had ever been there, in spite of the fact that we have lived in Indy for years. And frankly, although I know Weber is a household name in the barbecue industry, I guess I didn’t realize that there was a chain of restaurants as well.
Years ago, our family had some dealings in the Chicago area with the Weber people, and in the 38 years Janet and I have been married, we have, for the most part, used Weber grills whenever we can. We have owned several of their charcoal models, back in the early days of our marriage; and have gradually converted to their gas models throughout the years. Undoubtedly, they are the best grills that Janet and I have ever used.
Now I am a pretty fussy diner when I am out, and I know that Pat is also. But for some reason, I have come to trust her judgment when she tells me that I will enjoy something. Both Susan and Pat have raved about this place so Janet and I were excited to try it.
Not only for the food, but because the celebration of Pat’s birthday is a special occasion. We have known her for several years now, since Susan moved in. And Pat has become an indispensable part of our lives. She is helpful beyond words and is always willing to pitch in and lend a hand, or two. She sees herself as being put on this earth to serve others; and she is never at a loss for things to do. She takes care of us, and a number of other people as well. She and Susan are particularly close; they travel together and spend a great deal of time enjoying each other’s company.
Almost nothing is beyond Pat’s skill set. She has painted the outside of our home, as well as most of the interior, snaked out clogged plumbing lines, done mulching and edging, trimmed bushes, and almost every other imaginable job around the house. Additionally, she loves our dog, Lexie, and comes in to feed her most days when Janet and I are busy. In fact, if we go away and need to board Lex, Pat makes sure that she has all her toys, food and other items for her trip to be boarded. Then Pat drops her off, and picks her up when we return! She has been priceless in helping Kristin, and the rest of us, during Kristin’s recent divorce. And she herself is a gift that keeps on giving.
So tonight, I headed downtown to wait for Janet, Susan and Pat to arrive. I got there almost an hour early – I just wanted a little time to chill from all the business events of the day. When I got out of my car in front of Weber’s, I was immediately struck by the aroma that came from the restaurant. It was wonderful. Just like cooking on the backyard grill. Memories, recent as well as distant, came flooding back to me. But above all, that smell of meat on the fire permeated my nostrils.
I can’t help but be reminded of the biblical references to the sacrifices and the aroma that was so pleasing to God. More than 41 times in the Old Testament, there are references to the sacrifices and God’s reaction to them. But did you know that there is really only one reference to “aroma” in the New Testament? And it is a reference by Paul, speaking about how we can be emissaries for God, or not. In 2 Cor. 15-16, we are told, “For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.”
Admittedly, this is a somewhat difficult passage to understand. But basically, it says that people who are believers have a certain way about them – that they give off an “aroma” indicating that they are of the family of Christ. To some, this is offensive, as they don’t know the saving grace of Christ and therefore are banished to eternal separation from God. But to the others in the world, the “aroma” of believers is a reminder that they will reign with Christ forever and never be separated from the love of God.
My encouragement this evening is to let you know that God watches what we do, and that certain people, such as Pat, have undoubtedly brought a smile and a “pleasing aroma” to God. My prayer is that you will follow her example and be a living sacrifice to the Father, and to His Son. Happy Birthday, Pat. We wouldn’t know what to do without you.
Grace and peace…