With the changing temperatures and the turning of the leaves, it doesn’t take much imagination to know that fall “is in the air.” Undeniably, it is my favorite time of the year – the growing season is pretty much over and the farmers are near the end of the harvest. It won’t be long until the corn and soybeans are in and the fields will begin their season of rest; in anticipation of a time of renewal and new life next spring.
I can’t help but be reminded of all the times I would work out in the yard at my grandparent’s home on Winchester in Beverly Hills. Grandpa would teach me about the rhythm of the seasons and how there was a time for everything. We would rake leaves, trim bushes, pull up dead annuals and then throw them on the burning pile back behind the garage. Several weeks would pass and then, right about this time of year and into mid-October, we would sit on large tree stumps and talk about the earth and God’s creation while we watched the fire consume all the brush and dead plant material from the summer months.
Back then, it was commonplace to burn leaves – either in the street, as we did at our house, or back behind the garage at Grandpa’s house. On the week-ends, you could hardly travel down the streets without seeing people out in their yards raking and burning leaves. It was an awesome experience – that is, before they made it unlawful to burn leaves in the street. How I used to love the smells of fall – first and foremost, the aroma of burning leaves. Of course, close behind was the smell of a charcoal fire in the grill, but that is something reserved a little more for the summer months. And who among us can forget the smell of the first fire of the season in the wood burning fireplaces most of us had in our homes back then.
Now, the country has become a little more sanitized. Our grills tend to be gas-fired instead of charcoal. It is the same with most of our fireplaces and nowadays, we have to bag our leaves rather that burn them. So the smells of fall are harder to come by these days. Maybe that just makes it a little more special than it used to be. I know that when I let Lexie out each evening, I am eager to be greeted by that special smell of fire in the air. In almost every situation, that is a smell that I find very pleasing.
That is what God said about the aroma of the offerings that the priests made during their burnt sacrifices. The Scriptures are full of verses relating stories of the burnt offerings to God – even as far back as Noah and his family after the flood. But most people don’t realize that there are many aromas pleasing to God. And that includes His people…
The verse for this evening is an obscure verse that not many of us are familiar with. When we think of smell and aroma, we associate it with crops or fires or the smell of nature. But in fact, the Bible actually refers to another kind of aroma. That is the aroma of God’s people. We are told by Paul, in 2 Corinthians. 2:14-17, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 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. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.” A pretty deep verse, if you really think about it.
My encouragement this evening is that God takes delight in us when we follow His Son and are ambassadors for the Kingdom of God. My prayer is that you will be committed to spreading the Good News and each time you experience the great smells of fall, you will remember that we are the fragrance of life to so many! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…