When You Get Bumped

We have several grand or white fir trees which we planted 20-25 years ago. We usually decorate one of them as an outside tree for the Christmas season, but they are getting almost too tall to do so. It takes lots of lights and a tall ladder and long pole to put up and take down the lights. Whenever you bump  the branches, they emit a very fragrant aroma, especially when you mow around them in the summer. For this reason, we try to find a grand fir for our indoor tree too when we go looking for a Christmas tree. They provide a great “house freshener” for the two-three weeks we have the tree up.

     We also have a spring flower that grows from a large bulb. It is called the “crown imperial” and is very beautiful with its large orange blossoms. It blooms the same time as our daffodils and tulips. The bulbs multiply rapidly so we recently dug them after they had finished blooming and started to die down. We have given away lots of them. The unique thing about the crown imperial— besides its beautiful flowers and leaves— is that it smells a bit like a skunk when you bump it so the deer don’t like it, which, for us, is a real plus, as there are very few flowers, like daffodils, which the deer don’t eat.   The bulbs even smell pretty bad.
     As Kathy and I were talking about the grand fir versus the crown imperial, and what happens when you bump into or disturb them, we couldn’t help but think of the spiritual parallel.  What happens when we get bumped?  What kind of “odor” do we give off? One that is repulsive or one that is gracious and attractive? 
      The Apostle Paul, in writing to the Corinthian believers penned these words recorded in II Cor. 2:15,16: “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life…” In context, it Paul is speaking of how the same Gospel brings life to the believer and death to the rejecter.  He was drawing upon the practice of a victorious Roman army parading home with its captives and spoil. The priests would precede them and burn incense, which to the triumphant Roman soldiers spoke of life and victory but to the defeated enemy spoke of the imminent death they faced at the hands of their captors.   Using this image of  incense,  Paul saw believers as the incense, giving forth the fragrance of Jesus Christ in their lives and labors. To other believers, we are the fragrance of Christ, but to unbelievers, we are the fragrance of death. In other words, the Christian life and ministry are matters of life and death. The way we live and work and play can mean life or death to a lost world around us. No wonder Paul cried out, “And who is adequate for these things” (II Cor. 2:16b).  He gave the answer in the next chapter where he wrote: “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God” (3:5).  
     When we “get bumped,” it is what we are full of that spills out. If we are full of self, hatred, unforgiveness, and anger, then that is what will come forth when we are “disturbed” by someone. But, if we indwelled by Christ, and filled with (under the control of) the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18),  letting “the word of Christ richly dwell within us” (Col. 3:16), then what spills over when we are bumped will be the “fruit of the spirit,” which is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal. 5:21,22). When we are bumped,  or maybe even crushed, the fragrance we give off will be determined by what fills us.
     Have you been “bumped” by someone recently?  What spilled out? What kind of “aroma” did you give off?  Was it the “fragrance of Christ” or was it the stench of selfishness and pride revealed through anger and harsh words?  Is your life and labor attracting people to Christ or driving them from Him?  Something to consider. Something for which we will be held accountable.   The secret of giving off a pleasing aroma, of course, is to make sure you have Christ in your life and then moment by moment let the indwelling Holy Spirit be in control so that at the moment of “impact”  with someone, the fullness of Christ and the Holy Spirit in you is what will spill over. 
                                                                                                Forever His,
                                                                                                        Pastor Dave

About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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