We hadn’t seen Kristi in four years and were looking forward to having her come for dinner and fellowship. Catching up on life and hearing about her missionary work in France was going to be the order of the evening. I had my menu planned and knew the order in which I needed to prepare the food so that it would all be done right on time. The first item to prepare was the homemade Pound Cake that I would later serve with ice cream and chocolate syrup. I love to have my house smelling like good home cooking when someone comes to visit, and I knew that this Pound Cake would start off that homey smell just right.
After the cake was in the oven for awhile I noticed that I wasn’t smelling that wonderful aroma that I had looked forward to experiencing – and neither would Kristi when she walked in the door! All I was smelling was the acrid, offending odor of burnt cake. How could that be? So I turned on the oven light, peeked in through the glass door, and quickly found the cause. There on the floor of the oven was an ugly mound of burnt cake batter. Somehow some of the cake had oozed out of the tube pan onto the bottom of the oven and proceeded to bake into a black, ugly glob. I couldn’t open the oven door to remove the offense because then the cake would fall, so I had to let it continue baking and filling the house with its burnt odor. I wasn’t smelling my wonderful Pound Cake. Instead, all I whiffed was the burnt glob on the bottom of the oven.
Later, I put the Ravioli Lasagne in the oven and in my hurry to get it started I decided not to remove the burnt batter. I thought that it had surely burnt so much that it wouldn’t smell anymore and so I would take care of it later. But sure enough, as the lasagne began to bake I could only smell the dark smell of something burning. It wasn’t until I opened the oven door and gingerly scooped out as much of the glob as I could that the smell began to go away and to be replaced by the delicious scent of lasagne and cake.
I wonder what aroma I emit when I am around others? I’m not talking about the scent of my lotion or whether I brushed my teeth. Paul said it so well in II Corinthians 2:14 – “But thanks be to God, Who always leads us to triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” Am I manifesting the sweet aroma of Christ to everyone that I am around? Sometimes I know that I have let the hardness of life burn me to a crisp. When I allow life’s situations to burn me instead of bake me to perfection under His guiding hand, then I emit a very unpleasant odor. How I respond to the disappointments I face will determine whether I’m allowing Christ to make me into what He wants or allowing my own sinful nature to ooze out of my mouth and my attitudes.
Satan loves to bombard us with discouragement and to heap guilt and blame upon our heads. God wants us to live in truimph, as Paul said, and to rest in the knowledge of Him. My knowledge of God leads me to know that even in the very, very difficult periods of life, He is mixing the ingredients of my life into just what He wants me to become. Oh may I not allow that beautiful mix that He is creating to become a burnt glob of bitterness and doubt! May I manifest through Christ the sweet aroma of the knowledge of God in every place that I go!