I had to go in.
This stench stood between my financial freedom and me.
After all, sixteen was the year of independence, wasn’t it?
With your first REAL paying job came new clothes, your own car (eventually), and all the junk food you could buy! Right?
What teen didn’t long for that first job?
Well, I’ll tell you…
A teen growing up in a small fishing community, with no MacDonald’s, Tim Horton’s, or mall; and whose only place of gainful employment was a fish plant!
Yes, you read that correctly.
A FISH PLANT!
Rubber boots, sharp knives, hairnets and clothes that you had to peel off at the front door BEFORE you went into the house after a day working, are not part of the picture one envisions for their first job. Neither was slicing off the heads and tails of fish, filleting them and checking them for worms!
My paychecks certainly were not a drawback. Neither was working alongside some of the hardest working people I have ever known. But it was the rancid, pungent smell of fish that made my first ever job… STINK.
Even after discarding my funky clothes (not funky in the cool way), scrubbing and scrubbing my skin with my Dad’s Old Spice soap-on-a-rope, repeatedly shampooing my hair, I worried that I still sported my piscine perfume. I was ever mindful that, no matter what I did, it hovered over me like Pigpen’s dirt cloud in the Charlie Brown cartoons.
Where is that stench coming from?
Smell is one of the most powerful senses God has given us. Sometimes, all it takes is a certain smell and we are immediately taken back to a specific memory.
There are good smells, like bread fresh out of the oven or Mayflowers and lilacs. Then there are ones powerfully repugnant…such as the fish plant or rotting flesh.
But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.” John 11:38-39 NLT
Four days of a decaying body lying in a hot, humid tomb. I think Martha pointed out the obvious and was more than ready to run back home and get her can of OT Febreze! If I had of been there, I would have agreed with her and started digging for my purse size can of Lysol.
Our sin stink stinks!
No matter how we try to disguise our stench with the perfume of good performance, or deodorize ourselves with the deodorant of religion, we still smell and stinking is the pits!
In the beginning, the stench of sin had to be covered by the shedding of blood.
Leviticus tells us that as an animal sacrifice is consumed in the fire on the altar, the smoke that rises is a sweet, pleasing aroma to God. Three times in the first chapters of Leviticus, it talks of the smoke being a pleasing aroma.
The Old Testament sacrificial system was a sign looking ahead to the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross, which opened the way of life for us (Ephesians 5:1,2). Just as we are attracted by pleasant smells, so the smell of Christ’s sacrifice makes us appealing to God.
But there is more:
In the same way, our offering of ourselves up to God is also a pleasing aroma, a fragrance; the fragrance of Christ Himself found in us (2 Cor 2:14-16).
Are we a sweet smell or a stinky odor?
Solomon warns: “Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment, and cause it to give off a foul odor; so does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor” (Ecclesiastes 10:1).
We refer to it as “a fly in the ointment,” meaning, a small but irritating flaw that spoils the whole thing.
It may be a small fly, but it can:
ruin something very costly
render something essential as useless
corrupt something used for healing into something that is putrefying
Just as we may say, “Oh, what harm can one little fly do?” we ask, “Oh, what harm can one little sin do?”
It only takes one rotten apple to decay a whole bag or basket.
It takes only one fly to spoil a lovely bowl of soup or a whole night’s sleep.
It took only one bite of a forbidden fruit for sin to enter mankind (Genesis 3).
It took only one glance for David to fall into adultery and murder (II Samuel 11).
One kiss betrayed our Savior (Mark 14:44).
Small does not mean insignificant.
What dead flies are putrefying your perfume?
Flirting with sexual sin….
We are recognized by our smell!
Scientist say that even our sweat/perspiration aroma is unique from person to person. I tend to agree with them!
Blindfold me and bring my two teens to identify by their sent and I could do it! My daughter smells like lavender and lilies. My son smells like AXE (anyone with teen boys know what this is). Blindfold me and take me to a few homes belonging to friends and family and I could probably identify where I am by the scent. I can smell two t-shirts that are similar in color and size and know which belongs to my husband and which belongs to my son, all because of the fragrance…or odor!
Jesus is to be a sweet-smelling scent overflowing in our lives. We need to take care of the flies that may putrefy His precious perfume, for our world is in a stinky mess. It needs fresh, unique, life-giving bursts of the sweet scent of the Spirit that draws people to Christ.
So, at the risk of being too personal… how do you smell?