Wednesday, January 16, 2008


You just never know what God will use to teach you something.

It was May in Virginia, and the weather was getting hot. We had just moved, and were still unpacking boxes when an old Dodge Diplomat pulled down our gravel drive and parked in the front yard. From within the car emerged a hulk of guy wearing bib overalls and no shirt, with a wad of chewing tobacco in his cheek that was so big it made him look like he was eating a jawbreaker. He lumbered onto the front porch and knocked.

As I opened the screen door, he extended his hand to me and said, "Hi. I'm Landon. Welcome to the South." Actually, the chew was contorting his right cheek so much that the last word sounded more like, "Sowf." Landon went on. "I'm glad you all are here at the church. I work at the dairy down the road."

Although true, this last statement was unnecessary. Since we didn't have air conditioning, all the windows were open to allow the breeze to blow through. We knew Landon worked at the dairy from the moment he drove up. Both his car and his clothes exuded that aroma that is unmistakably, "all things cow." After a short conversation, Landon went on his way- probably back to the dairy. The aroma of "all things cow," went with him.

About a year later, I was driving back to the church building after lunch. As I approached the dairy, I noticed that they were watering a field near the road. Just about the time I drove past, the wind really kicked up and my little green car was coated on one side with a mixture of something that resembled watery pudding. I immediately realized that "watering" had not been the right term. When the milking stalls were cleaned, all the waste and runoff was washed into a nearby lagoon. That lagoon was now being pumped to fertilize the field. At the corner stop sign, I turned right instead of left and headed straight to the car wash. By the time I had driven the remaining four miles to town, "all things cow" was my overpowering companion.

I rejoiced that it hadn't eaten off the paint. I also rejoiced that the passenger windows were shut during the wind-induced manure malaise. Washing a coat of dung-paste off your vehicle's shiny exterior is one thing. Trying to get it out of your upholstery is something else entirely. But here lies the difference between myself and Landon. (Well besides the fact that I don't wear bibs or chew Red Man.)

That smell was an immediate problem for me, and I wanted it off my car. I don't, however, think I've ever met a dairy farmer who complained about the odor. Actually, I've heard more than one say, "It just smells like money to me." The benefits they receive have altered their perspective. They have also accepted that when you spend a lot of your time milking, caring for, and cleaning up after cows, you are going to smell like them at the end of the day. After all, the closer you are to something, the better the chances are that you'll become saturated with it.

To be saturated is to be unable to hold or contain any more; it is to be completely full.

In Colossians 2:9, Paul says, "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form...." In other words, there is no part of Him that is less than fully God- even as He walked in human form.

Now look at the rest of his statement: "...and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority (Col. 2:10)." Do you realize that we can choose to be literally saturated with Christ? Each time an undesirable part of our old self is removed, we can cry out to Jesus to fill the void. Little by little, we decrease and He increases in us.

All this saturation seems to carry its own "smell"-both to God and to others. No kidding. Even more interesting, our smell to others ends up depending on their choices. Here's what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 2:15-16a:

"For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance or life."

Who knew we were all so smelly?

Be saturated.

In Him We Live,


1 comment:

Amy said...

How bizzare. I recently bought an aroma difuser because it 'smelled' like my Grandma Pond. It really reminds me of happier days in Wichita and her home, which was always lovely. She also had Dove soap (or Ivory Soap) which was such a beautiful delight to a kid. Smell lasts a LOT longer than the words that she told me. I really can't remember her telling me stories or anything, but I can remember the smell of peppernuts (a Christmas cookie) and Swiss steak (which I didn't care for). What we observe through our eyes and our nose sink a lot deeper than what we hear with out ears, for the most part. The heart remembers the things that are true, for good or bad. Our realities are often tied to the emotions that are attached to events and actions. I remember a story about a man who worked for a Christian for a year and then announced one day that he was leaving to work for a Buddhist. The gentleman asked why this decision and the worker said, " I have worked for you and watched you for a year. Now I will observe this man. Then I will decide which god I will follow." There again, observation.
ok. Back to Grandma. She always had AVON perfumes and the one I remember the most was "Hear my Heart". Lovely. A graceful, beautiful thing. I only hope that my 'trail' is a sweet aroma to those who seek HIM. Like a bee after the blossom, etc. I have another story about an aroma, but that will have to wait till a different time.
Hope i'm getting stinkier all the time! (In the good way that is!)