Read Romans 12
Fresh cut grass
Babies slathered in Johnson and Johnson
The earth just after the rain
The smell of bread baking
Smell is one of the most powerful of the five senses. The ability to smell helps us taste, can alert us of danger, and can bring back memories long ago forgotten.
In the book of Leviticus, which is where I generally get off track when I try reading through the Bible, Moses writes the details regarding every kind of sacrifice the Lord required of the Israelites. I cannot help but be thankful for Jesus’ sacrifice delivering us from all those requirements when I read them. All of the offerings have one thing in common: when done properly, they are a “pleasing aroma to the Lord.”
Romans 12:1 says “offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.” The chapter goes on to talk about the body. In church-y lingo, we call what he is talking about the Body of Christ. Each of us have different gifts, and we should use that to our advantage as a church.
The same principal applies to family. Family was created by God along with Adam and Eve. He gave them each other, then told them to “be fruitful and multiply.” He designed husband and wife to be different in personality and role because he needed them to work together for his Kingdom Come. But as the very first family figured out with Cain and Able, we humans tend toward dysfunction. This is why I believe The verses of Romans 12 need to be applied first to family. When we recognize that each member of our family has unique gifts to contribute, we can begin working together. It takes a lot of hard work, careful planning and intentional choices for a family to work effectively, but Romans 12 lays it all out for us.
- Be devoted to one another
- Honor others above yourselves
- Be joyful, patient and faithful
- Bless those who persecute you (sibling rivalry, anyone?)
- Rejoice with those who rejoice
- Mourn with those who mourn
- Live in harmony
- Do not be proud
- Do not repay evil for evil
- Live at peace
- Do not take revenge
- Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good
Making bread requires a few basic ingredients. My favorite recipe includes flour, salt, oil, milk, honey, a little ground ginger, and of course, yeast. Let’s switch gears and think about the ingredients as we think of the body of Christ. All the parts are separate, but necessary to form the finished product. Some of us are stable and have a lot of substance, like the flour. Some of us add the flavor, the spice, like the salt and ginger. Some are smooth (milk) or sweet (honey), or slick (oil).
In Matthew, Jesus says, “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amounts of flour until it worked all through the dough.” Lets assume for a minute that the bullet points I mentioned above are the elements of the Kingdom of Heaven. Take all of those basic ingredients, work in the yeast of the Kingdom of Heaven, and offer the whole thing by fire. The result is an incredibly pleasing aroma to the Lord.
Applying this principal to the church and the community is wonderful, but I believe it should start at home. When we figure out our family’s unique set of gifts and prayerfully learn to use them together, we will be a pleasing aroma to the Lord.