Would You Smell This?
by Rhonda Rhea
Tell me you’re not one of those people who says to another family member, “Hey, would you smell this?” Unless we’re talking fresh flowers, new cologne or hot-out-of-the-oven bread, that’s rarely a question that causes a family member think, “Oh boy, this is going to be great!”
Why is it that there are those who see chunks in the milk or come across questionable socks in between the clean and dirty pile of laundry, and (emphasis on this next part) being unwilling to sniff any of it themselves, sort of pawn the smell off on someone else? I don’t want to smell this. It might be disgusting. Here, you do it.
Isn’t the sense of smell the only one of the five senses that we regularly use as a weapon? It’s a little like chemical warfare, isn’t it? There should be a standing universal rule of etiquette, approved by the Geneva Convention, that says you should never ask anyone to smell something you’re not willing to smell yourself. Sort of a “smell unto others as you would have them smell unto you” rule. I don’t think we could call it a golden rule, but maybe at least aluminum.
On the spiritual side, anytime we encourage people to live a life of righteousness for Christ when we’re not living it ourselves, we’re definitely sniffing up the wrong tree, as it were. We need to make it our own personal universal rule to follow Jesus out of love for Him. It’s the right thing to do. And as a bonus, it’s a testimony that prompts those around us in right living. Psalm 106:2 asks the question, “Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord or fully declare his praise?” (NIV). Then the psalmist answers the question in the next verse: “Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right.”
Not to be too “nosy” here, but have you asked yourself recently if you’re making a positive difference in this world by the way you’re living? Are you maintaining justice? Constantly doing what is right? Is your testimony of righteousness influencing and inspiring those around you to live well too?
Making a personal rule of consistently doing what is right out of love for Christ is always the best idea. It’s ever so much more important than living life according to the aluminum rule—or any other precious metal rule we can come up with. A personal rule of obedience is one that helps spread the charge to right living beyond ourselves as we proclaim His mighty acts and fully declare His praise, just as the psalmist inspires. And that’s like a sweet smelling offering to the Lord. Isn’t that a blessing of the sweetest spiritual olfactory kind?
Of course back on the physical olfactory side, I’m thinking it’s also a good idea to make it a personal rule that if you see chunks in the milk, don’t even bother sniffing. Just have some coffee.