Chip Stapleton Highland Presbyterian Church April 1st, 2020 Hunkered Down Devotions
2 Corinthians 2:14-15; 3:4-6 The Voice (VOICE) 14 Yet I am so thankful to God, who always marches us to victory under the banner of the Anointed One; and through us He spreads the beautiful fragrance of His knowledge to every corner of the earth. 15 In a turbulent world where people are either dying or being rescued, we are the sweet smell of the Anointed to God our Father. . . . . . . . ..
4 This is the kind of confidence we have in and through the Anointed toward our God. 5 Don’t be mistaken; in and of ourselves we know we have little to offer, but any competence or value we have comes from God. 6 Now God has equipped us to be capable servants of the new covenant, not by authority of the written law which only brings death, but by the Spirit who brings life.
These words above from the Apostle Paul seem particularly well-suited for our current situation. I love the imagery in this passage about followers of Jesus having the smell or aroma of God as we walk through this ‘turbulent world’.
The old camp song, ‘The will know we are Christians by our love’, carries with it a similar theme, mainly the idea that, as followers of Jesus, the world will notice something different about us. That uniqueness, if we are walking in the way of Jesus, should draw others to us and as they are drawn to us, they encounter Jesus.
Every time I read this passage I think about the way our entire house is filled with a wonderful and enticing smell when someone decides to bake cookies in the kitchen. Nothing works better at attracting our children (and the adults) than that enticing smell.
That is how we are called to live and operate in our families, in our communities and in our world. We are to live in such a way that others just end up in the kitchen with us, wanting some of what’s cooking.
Has there ever been a time when our communities have been more in need of the smell of something good and sweet? Figuring out what, exactly, that means in this time of physical distancing (a term that I like much better than ‘social distancing’ – as the point is not to be separated socially, but physically) can certainly be a challenge. But we know that, even more than normal, there are people all around us – our literal neighbors in many cases – that are in need.
Earlier today we sent out an email with a link to our ‘virtual kindness cards’. Our hope is that these cards can provide a means for us to reach out to our neighbors and offer tangible help as well as the hope we find in Jesus. What a wonderful way to spread the sweet smell of the love of God.
Finally, the conclusion of the 2nd Corinthians passage highlights an important reminder – this isn’t about us or what we can do – it is really all about God: Don’t be mistaken; in and of ourselves we know we have little to offer, but any competence or value we have comes from God. 6 Now God has equipped us to be capable servants of the new covenant, not by authority of the written law which only brings death, but by the Spirit who brings life.
Sharing God’s Love,
Prayer: Dear Lord, we are so blessed – even in the midst of trial and trouble you’re your love and providence. Help us to be, to share and to spread the sweet smell of your love to all that we encounter: our families, our friends, our neighbors, our community, and even our world. Amen.