Aroma Ministry

I honestly don’t know much about it, other than, that for some, it’s a thing. I’m aware of aromatherapy but I couldn’t describe or explain aromatherapy. I’ve heard the term “essential oils” but I couldn’t tell you what makes an oil essential. I’ve been in places where there’s a diffuser, but never really understood exactly what it’s diffusing or why.

But while I may not get aromatherapy, this morning I’m reminded afresh of aroma ministry.

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?

(2Corinthians 2:14-16 ESV)

I know the specific context here is Paul’s perspective on not walking through “the door that was opened” for Him by the Lord to preach the gospel in Troas, but instead feeling the need to head to Macedonia (2:12-13). I see that the “us” he’s talking about is him and his traveling companions. And that, despite walking away from such an opportunity, they could still give thanks to God knowing that, wherever they went, they were going as trophies of God’s grace.

Paul imagined themselves being paraded about, wherever they went, as captives of the risen King in “triumphal procession.” They were the spoils of the battle won through the cross. The purpose not to draw attention to themselves, but to evidence the glory of the One who had forever conquered sin and death. And, as such, through them God would diffuse an aroma everywhere, the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Himself. The Spirit the “essential oil” that would make the Father known through the Son.

So, while I get Paul is talking about himself, I can’t help but think there’s application to ourselves. That each of us has a similar aroma ministry.

Last night in small group we rejoiced that one of our guys, laid off because of the COVID-19 impact, is heading back to work this week — kind of counter trend these days. And he asked for prayer. That he would know what he’s doing there. Not that he doesn’t know what job he’s doing but that, in a kingdom of heaven context, he would know his purpose there.

As we’ve said here before, pandemics and quarantines have a way of causing one to evaluate their lives. They are a real opportunity to re-focus and gain clarity. I think that’s what this brother was asking prayer for — focus and clarity.

And if I had read this yesterday afternoon, I might have encouraged the brother with, “We’ll pray for you bro’, but know that, at the least, you are going to work to smell up the place. You’re a follower of King Jesus in His victory parade even as you march into your plant this week. And through you God wants to spread the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ everywhere. Through your competency and your character, whether by your words or just your ways, you’re going to be a diffuser of a sweet-smelling aroma. And the substance you’ll be subtly spreading around will be Christ in you through the Holy Spirit.”

Isn’t that true for any of us, in any place, in any situation? That, at the very least, we’ll be exercising an aroma ministry?

And who is sufficient for these things? Certainly not the guy sitting at this keyboard. Not in his own power.

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us . . .

Let’s go put on some “airs” today. Not as the world so often does, making much of ourselves. But as citizens of heaven, making much of Him.

By His grace. For His glory.

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