Yesterday, the farmer who owns the field across from my house mowed his hay. As I sat at my desk, the smell of fresh mowed hay wafted into my office from the open window, and immediately childhood memories flashed into my mind. Growing up on a farm, I recall many summers of making hay and drifting off to sleep in crisp line-dried sheets with the smell of fresh hay carried on the damp nighttime breeze. I opened the window wide last night so I could fall asleep reliving memories from more than two decades ago. Drinking in deep gulps of the sweet air, my unfinished to-do list banished from my mind, I relived the carefree innocence of my youth and the delightful comfort of crisp sheets and a soft quilt.
Isn’t it amazing how a smell can stick with us and bring back memories long filed away in some corner of our minds? That’s why it’s so important for us to remember that we are the aroma of Christ to other people (from 2 Cor. 2:15). Others remember how we treat them and if we claim to love Jesus at the same time we cut others down with our words, they’ll remember that stench for a long time. As we go to work, interact with grocery store clerks, and sit next to friends at the ball game, we need to keep in mind that our behavior can affect how some people think about Jesus. We can be a sweet fragrance that draws people towards a desire for God, or we can stink up their perception. I’d rather be perfume, wouldn’t you?