Bob came home from one of his business trips this week bearing gifts for Robbie and me. He brought Robbie a big bagel. That may seem like a funny gift to bring a boy who is tube-fed and cannot eat anything by mouth, but Robbie loves to hold a cookie or a dinner roll, a licorice stick or an empty ice cream cone in his hand and just look at it and play with it. He has no desire to put anything in his mouth and, though it is sad to us, he does not seem to be bothered that he cannot eat those things. Perhaps he feels more “normal” just having those good things in his possession. Anyway, he was thrilled with his newest treat! His eyes lit up and he got so excited when he pulled that giant bagel out of the bag! It has been his new “favorite thing,” even replacing his faithful apple, and he is not allowing anyone to take it away from him! It was a good choice on Bob’s part, too. It is sturdy enough that it doesn’t crumble or break or bruise like most of Robbie’s other treats—in fact, at this point it is as hard as a rock! It’s going to be around for a while.
Bob’s gift for me was a potted hyacinth. He brings me flowers every now and then just to say I love you. It is so pretty and the fragrance is just out of this world! The scent has wafted throughout the house the last few days, and even I, who have a notoriously poor sense of smell, have been surprised and delighted with whiffs of its perfume at unexpected moments. The hyacinth smells so fresh and spring-like and it just fills my heart with happiness and hope that spring is actually sputtering into reality!
Many years ago I taught a ladies’ Bible study called The Fragrance of Beauty. It was based on a book by Joyce Landorf and dealt with the topic of a woman’s inner and outer beauty and her influence on all those around her. As I enjoyed my pretty hyacinth plant this week and was amazed at the strength of its sweet aroma, I couldn’t help but think of my own “fragrance”—my influence and effect on the lives of others. As a mother and grandmother I would hope my life has had a profound and worthy impact on the lives of my children and grandchildren. As a wife, daughter, sister, friend I would like to think I have been, most of the time anyway, a blessing to my loved ones. As a writer, teacher, counselor and mentor, I pray my words have helped and encouraged others.
Those are lofty aspirations for a life well-lived, but I have asked myself this week as well, how does my life measure up simply on a day-to-day level? When I enter a room does the fragrance of my being fill others with happy anticipation and pleasure, or do they dread a “downer?” Do they see someone who is filled with the sweet savor of faith and peace and love and joy, or is there the sour smell of worry or discontentment, bitterness or anger surrounding me? Do they enjoy my presence, or are they “allergic?”
And what kind of fragrance am I to the Lord? II Corinthians 2:15 says, “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:” My life ought to be a sweet-smelling sacrifice unto Him, well-pleasing and faithfully obedient. And not only that, according to this verse, it should be an aromatic, beautifully fragrant testimony to both the saved and unsaved of my relationship with Him. That is what is a good and acceptable sacrifice to Him. In Old Testament times, under the Law, believers were required to offer a burnt sacrifice which was a sweet savor unto the Lord. Now He asks us to give our lives as living sacrifices for Him. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1) Is my life a sweet savor to Him?
I hope to enjoy my hyacinth for some time to come. Bob will replant it outside later. I do not have a green thumb by any stretch of the imagination, but maybe by some miracle it will survive a while. And while it does, it will be a reminder to me to be a sweet fragrance to others and to the Lord.