Wrong Aroma

At first I was pleased. Then I was offended. Now I'm fmish’d (is that a word?)

I was pleased ...

because a friend from long ago contacted me out of the blue. I hadn't heard from him in many years and was delighted to learn something of what was happening in his life.

Then I was offended ...

for suddenly the tone of his letter changed. It started with the words, "I am writing you to let you know about a fantastic business opportunity. Have you ever heard about...?"

What? Give me a break! How naive does he think I am? Does he really think I don't see through his blatant recruiting effort? Send me a greeting card, or send me a recruitment letter, but don't try use the one to validate the other! In so doing, you demean both our relationship and your "fantastic business opportunity."

Now I'm fmish’d ...

which is a word my friend uses when he sees me stewing over something. As in this: how many times have I used the same techniques to interest people in Jesus? How often have I demeaned either my friendships or my faith by using one as an excuse for the other? And how do I find the balance between the two?

The apostle Paul wrote about two approaches to church planting in his letter to a new church he had started in the town of Corinth. On the one hand, he said, there are pretentious people who "peddle the word of God." On the other, there are people who are genuinely authentic, who approach others "with sincerity." These are the people, he says, who exude "the aroma of Christ."

Many believers want to carry the aroma of Christ in their relationships. They want to love people sincerely, without agenda. I know I do. But if we are not very careful, the only aroma we will give is the kind that makes you hold your nose.