Thursday, 18 November 2021
Title: What Do You Smell Like?
By: Pr Mark Tan
2 Corinthians 2:12-17
In today’s reading, the Apostle Paul explained that although there was an opportunity for him to preach the Gospel, he did not stay because he feared that if he could not find Titus there, it would be wise to move on. He then went on to Macedonia, probably the city of Philippi, where he then planted the Philippian church.
As a word of encouragement, the Apostle Paul shares that it doesn’t matter where we go; as long as we go on proclaiming the Good News, we will bear God’s presence and, interestingly, aroma.
Aroma is interesting because even though invisible, it can trigger a strong reaction. The smell of something can take you back to a good memory like how the smell of mothballs reminds me of my grandmother’s house. Or a sad memory, like how the smell of a certain disinfectant reminds me of the hospital where I comforted a family who lost their child. Sometimes even the same smell can conjure up bi-polar reactions like the smell of durian or belacan.
The Apostle Paul writes that we are to God the fragrance of the Gospel. Some will sense the Gospel from us and respond to it positively, confessing Jesus Christ as Lord and similarly bear the same fragrance too. At the same time, others might sense the Gospel from us and instead feel offended, never wanting to embrace it. Now is it to our credit that we presented the Gospel well to some? Is it then our fault that some disliked the “stench” of the Gospel we possess? The Apostle remind us that it is not our place to determine who reacts positively or negatively to the Gospel. Rather, we are to just focus on experiencing the Gospel ourselves and share it with others freely and sincerely.
Now, it’s one thing to share the Gospel with words, but what about the fragrance of the Gospel? Let me give an illustration:
There was once a boy in India who was told by his mother to take some ripe mangoes from their tree, take the bus for an hour to town and try selling them on the streets. From late morning till late afternoon, he shouted at the top of his lungs “Mangoes! Get your ripe, sweet mangoes here!” But to his disappointment, nobody bought even a single mango from him. Broken-hearted and discouraged, he got back on the bus and went on the journey home. On the way home, he realised he was starving since he didn’t eat anything all day. So he took a mango, peeled the skin and began eating it. The honey-sweet aroma filled the bus and seeing how the boy enjoyed the mango like it was the most delicious thing he’d ever eaten, the other passengers wanted some and began buying mangoes from the boy. He came home with an empty basket and a sticky fistful of money. The mother asked “Wow! How did you manage to sell all the mangoes?” They realised that while the boy didn’t enjoy selling the mangoes on the streets, he enjoyed eating the mango and others wanted to experience his joy and satisfaction as well.
Friends, I pray that you enjoy God’s abounding love and fragrant peace. Enjoy God’s love and grace, and while doing so, don’t be surprised if some would come and ask for what you have too.
Almighty God, we thank You for Your abounding love and grace that You have given us through Your Son, Jesus. May we never forget to enjoy Your presence and count our blessings of the privilege of having You right beside us each day. May we enjoy the warm and fragrant fellowship of Your Holy Spirit, so much so that others will want and receive what You so freely give in your Gospel. This, we ask and pray in Your Son’s precious and holy name. Amen.
题目：“ 你的生命散发怎样的气味？ ”
经文： 哥林多后书 2:12-17