WHERE'S THE STINK?
…” well, when we came to the city of Troas to preach the Good News of Christ,
the Lord gave me tremendous opportunities. But I couldn’t find rest because my dear brother Titus hadn’t yet arrived with a report from you. So I said good-bye and went on to Macedonia to find him.
Now wherever we go He uses us to tell others about the Lord and to spread the Good News like a sweet perfume…”
2 Corinthians 2:12,13,14
Early this morning, still pajama clad, I finally cleaned out my fridge.
It looked alright- no spills, nothing going green yet. But I every time I dared open the door, my over-sensitive nose was assaulted by an awful stench. Where was it? I’d checked left-overs, sniffed cheese, rummaged through the vegetable bin- nothing. How could something that looked so clean smell so rotten?
I found all sorts of stuff I didn’t know I had in there. Where’d I get all these sauces? Barbeque sauce, teriyaki sauce, chili sauce, hot sauce, Szechwan sauce and steak sauce to name just a few. And mustard—four different kinds!
Where was that stink?
I couldn’t help but ruminate, as I rummaged through my fridge, on my somewhat stinky life. Something didn’t smell right lately. Nothing obvious- no septic sins, nothing moldering unattended. Everything on the outside seemed decently clean.
So how come I didn’t feel fresh? Where was my energy… my normal wake-up-in-the-morning hopefulness? How come I kept dreading my days and then barreling through them, dragging my to-do list along behind? Why was my eye twitching?
Slowly the fridge emptied. Every corner clean, each vegetable inspected. Lots of iffy odors thrown out. Still, nothing nasty enough to cause such a foul odor. What could it be? Time to check the freezer.
Once again everything came out. When was the last time I emptied this freezer? Last summer? Maybe the summer before? I have no idea. Judging by the overflow of frozen green beans and who-knows-what’s-in-em ziplocks, it’d been a good long while since I’d ventured deep into this territory. Why ever did I buy a big bag of frozen pineapple? I don’t even like pineapple!
But the smell was fading. Either that or my olfactories were failing. The deeper I cleaned, the less I smelled. Yet I’d uncovered nothing.
I think the apostle Paul was talking about stinky lives when he wrote to his friends in Corinth that even though he’d experienced a lot of unrest in his life lately, he was determined that every where he went he’d spread the fragrance of Christ. He reminded his friends (and us, by the way) that spreading the Good News was about none of us having to stay trapped in our stinkiness because Jesus cleaned all that out on the Cross. His blood actually washed us clean. Imagine that. Clean, fresh, fragrant beauty.
Could it be that the fetid odor I’d been trying to ignore had to do with me forgetting that?
Like maybe it’s not about me and my agenda and my stress from my overambitious workload? That my goal ought not to be to get so much stuff done- but to spread His beauty and His perfume wherever, whenever, however, and with whomever I find myself?
Like maybe it’s really about Jesus?
If you, like me, tend to get ahead of God and pack your days full of more tasks than any fully-human-woman can possibly hope to accomplish, then maybe its time to stop buying more mustard. Time to figure out why the eye is ticking before the bomb goes off. As for me, I’m going to get rid of some of the extras that are crowding out my joy. Its time to take a long look at all that I’m doing and ask God for wisdom to know what needs to be thrown out. Time to clean the fridge.
I still have no idea what caused such extreme malodorousness. Nor do I know why it’s gone. But I do know that we’ll be eating a lot of strange combinations over the next few weeks- honey mustard on green beans anybody?
From my heart,