A crucial part of every morning for me is an opportunity to sit down with a good cup of coffee and read...the daily comics. I know, I know; as a pastor I'm sure I'm "supposed" to get up early and be reading my Bible, but my mind usually isn't in gear enough for the deeper things- but the comics seem just about right.
I've enjoyed a story line taking place lately in the "Zits" cartoon. In this sketch, the teenage Jeremy has become obsessed with the suddenly-popular body sprays you see advertised all the time. The strip from today showed Jeremy's mom sniffing the air, and then preparing milk and cookies for Jeremy before he ever walks in the front door. As Jeremy pops his head in the door and sees that his mom has been aware of his coming for some time, he comments, "I guess maybe I do use too much body spray." And Jeremy's mom replies, "Yes, your smell preceded you by five-minutes."
Not only did this comic make me laugh, but it reminded me of a deeper truth. I guess my mind isn't that slow in the morning after all. Regardless of the type of perfume, cologne, or body spray we may use, each one of us gives off a fragrance. It's the type of fragrance that can't be smelled with the nose, but is sensed by the human heart. The kind of person we are, our character, our attitude, and our behaviors, gives off a fragrance that can be easily sensed by the people around us. We face a choice between giving off the scent of grace, love and acceptance, or a smell of criticism and judgment.
As Jesus walked this earth 2,000 years ago, he lived a life of grace. People from all walks of life and all backgrounds felt comfortable; no, welcomed, in his presence. When they saw Jesus coming, the fragrance of grace went before him and drew people to this God-man. And it was out of this love and grace that Jesus was able to call people to a new life and a new way of living. We can be guilty of thinking that people need to know how wrong they are before they'll change. Jesus showed that people need to know how loved they are.
What kind of fragrance do you give off? If you are seeking to make a difference in the world around you, become a person who gives off the aroma of grace. May you discover the wonderful grace of God in your life in order that you may freely offer it to those around you this week.