Sweet Scent Rising

A fellow Christian blogger came here to visit for the first time and left me a heartwarming message in the comments section. (I want my readers to know that she is not the only one who leaves me messages that bleed of blessings. There are definitely many others, like-minded, who bless me with their love, prayers, and encouraging words). She left a fragrant trail in her wake and I followed it all the way back to her blog like a bee finding its way to a meadow covered with flowers. And I wondered, “What if we lived a life like that, like a flower effusing a sweet scent to its surroundings? Maybe then the world would be a less selfish place to live in.”

This reminded me of Elisabeth Elliot’s book A Path Through Suffering which I read recently. Reading it, I was introduced to Lilias Trotter, an artist and missionary to Africa in the Victorian era. Ms. Elliot essentially based her discussions on Lilias Trotter’s sketches, essays, and analogies about suffering and the life of a flower, and to me, it was absolutely refreshing. One of my favorites in the book was this:

[God] will so govern the events of our lives, down to the smallest detail, as to provide for us the conditions which may make us fruitful. It is not for our sake but for the sake of others. The beauty of the flower is not for itself. It offers itself to God’s sunshine and rain, gives its fragrance to any who pass by, but it must wither and die before the fruit can be produced.

A Path Through Suffering, page 59

Gives its fragrance to any who pass by. To this I wrote a note at the margin: “Yes, like a sweet-smelling fragrance that goes up to God. Meaning, my life should be a blessing unto others. My complaints, my whinings, will not bless the people around me.”

I read the book at a time when I was feeling restless about my situation: prolonged illness and incapacity imprisoning me within the walls of our home. I wanted to really learn to “die to self” and to my fondest dreams and to bow down to the will and purposes of the Lord. Maybe then I would find true fulfilment and contentment.

I can think about two instances in the Bible where a fragrant offering is mentioned. The gifts the apostle Paul received to which he uttered: They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God (part of Phil. 4:18). And Mary anointing Jesus’ feet with the very costly ointment of spikenard. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume (part of John 12:3).

I believe every fragrant offering comes with a costly sacrifice. Whether we are giving of ourselves or of ours, the sweet-smelling savor that rises up to God is one that stems from a genuine heart and a purely selfless motive. Sometimes, however small the act, like a word spoken in due season, it brings a huge amount of comfort to the recipient.

This makes me pondering about my own life and how I am walking with the Lord and serving Him through serving others. Am I giving off a sweet fragrance that fills the home, the Church, the community? Am I leaving a pleasant scent behind me in my associations and conversations with those who are still finding their way to the Lord Jesus Christ and true salvation? I know that there is still a lot of work to be done in me.

“The beauty of the flower is not for itself” wrote Ms. Elliot. Yes, our transformed lives are for the glory of the Lord and for His service, how we will live this life for Him and for others.

(Winner of my 3rd blogging anniversary giveaway is Lory Sy).

(Photo courtesy of my good friend Perla Frisberg of Malmo, Sweden, and edited at picmonkey.com).

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Journey with Jesus,

Comments

  1. Marty says:

    Such a beautiful post! Thankful for the words at the start of my day so that I can be a sweet smelling and pleasing aroma to Christ and those around me.
    Blessings to you!

    • RinaPeru says:

      Marty, I praise and thank the Lord for letting the fragrance of this post waft to you, too :). Blessings be upon you!

  2. Cherry says:

    Thanks for these thoughts – and I especially liked that quote from Elizabeth Elliott’s book. So amazing to think of how God provides us with the conditions which will make us fruitful for His great purposes. And sometimes (often?) these conditions are painful for the moment, but they draw us to Him. And then we are made into something beautiful, to bless others around us. I love how your post explained this so beautifully – thank you!

  3. Janet Reeves says:

    What beautiful thoughts! We can learn so much from flowers.

  4. Joy Lenton says:

    Rina, this is my first link up with ‘Sharing His Beauty’ linky and also my first visit to your lovely blog. You were placed next to me so I wanted to pay a visit, read and leave a comment. And how blessed I have been to read your grace filled words today! How I relate to your circumstances too as an M.E and chronic illness sufferer who lives a largely housebound life. It is my deepest hope and prayer that the sweet fragrance of Christ will flow from my life too as I seek to praise Him throughout it all and point the way for others to come to know Him as Lord and Saviour. Elizabeth Elliot’s book sounds like a ‘must-read’ to investigate! Thank you so much for your insightful and beautiful post. Blessings :)

  5. Mary Hill says:

    I know there is a lot of work to be done in me too. I pray like you that I make the right choices that help others in my path. Thank you for your encouraging words and thoughtful post. It gives me much to ponder.

    • RinaPeru says:

      Mary, I pray with you that the Holy Spirit will continue its work in you to be a sweet-smelling aroma to everyone wherever you are.

  6. Nancy Sturm says:

    Mmm…I’m smelling that sweet scent. I believe your post is a sweet offering that pleases God.
    Thank you!

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