So Christians are like perfume? That may be quite a new idea for you. This passage is not one we read often. But it is a little bit like some of the Kingdom of God stories that Jesus tells. We have seen over and over that when Jesus speaks of the kingdom of heaven, He speaks of it as being like something very small or slight that still has the powerful potential to affect people in a good way. It’s like yeast that leavens a whole batch of bread so that others can be nourished. It’s like a mustard seed that grows and grows into a large bush that can shelter birds of the air. It’s like a pearl that someone sells all he owns just to possess it. Small beginnings, big impact. Almost imperceptible, not big or calling attention to itself. A seed, a pearl, a bit of yeast, and here, just a sweet aroma in the air. We’ve talked before about those Kingdom passages and how encouraging it is to think that out of a small group of Christians the Lord can make a big impact on a hurting world. God can use just a few of us to do something powerful. There needn’t be many of us for God to act in a mighty way.
Paul says that the world experiences us as the aroma, the perfume, the scent of goodness and holiness that comes from our relationship with Christ and our joy in Him. If you smell something good, often you follow your nose to find out more about it, don’t you? Think of those Cinnabons at the mall! We must hope that our aura attracts and moves others to find out more about our relationship with Jesus.
I thought of this verse one day when I opened my office door and smelled something sweet and good. A little apple that someone had given me the day before had filled my whole office with a delicious smell. Just a small apple gave off such perfume. May our own lives, however small, offer the sweet aroma of Christian faithfulness to all who encounter us. And may our example serve as an invitation that moves others to know our Jesus better.