My name is Chris Thomas. I’m a fortunate husband, a father of three and Dad to five. I’m an advocate of foster care as an expression of the gospel. I’m a pastor at Raymond Terrace Community Church, a regional church based in the Hunter Valley, Australia. I mostly write about the gospel and how it informs both work and rest.

Christian, You Stink!

Christian, You Stink!

How can one object cause such violently opposing reactions in two people?

Around the world they are called many different things, but here in Australia, we call them a Paw-Paw. If I did not hold to the literal account of Genesis where God looked at all He had made and declared it 'good', I would have said that Paw-Paw's had been spawned in the depths of hell.

I hate them with a passion.

I recall my Mum cutting up fresh fruit in the afternoon following a hot summer's day at school, when I would suddenly be assaulted by the pungent and horrifying aroma of a Paw-Paw. Yet while I lay slowly dying on the floor gasping for breath, my older sister would skip merrily down the hall singing the praises of our wonderful mother who had blessed us all with fruit grown on the bank of the river of life, flowing from the throne of heaven itself!

The smell of Paw-Paw makes me gag, while it induces a bliss-coma in my sister.

How can one object cause such violently opposing reactions in two people?

2 Corinthians 2:14–17 (ESV)
14 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. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.

Christian, you stink!

Did you realise that? Wherever you go, Paul says that you smell. In verse 14 he refers to it as a 'fragrance', while in verse 15 he says it is an 'aroma'—neither of those words are meant to be positive or negative. Wherever you go in this world, people will smell Jesus on you. It's like when I pick up my baby daughter and smell my wife's favourite perfume. The smell of those you spend time with rubs off on you.

If you're spending time with Jesus, you'll smell like him.

Of course, that's not always well received. Even in his own earthly walk, as wonderful as Jesus was, the smell of him made some people gag. They hated when he was around. Something about the Divine Son of God, the Eternal Word who had become flesh, smelt like a corpse. So much so, that certain people couldn't stand his presence any longer and did whatever they could to bury him.

Burying Jesus is one thing—keeping him there is a whole other story.

But not everyone felt that way. Regardless of how Jesus must have physically smelt some days, some people couldn't get enough of him. Social outcasts pressed through dangerous crowds just to be near him, even touch the hem of his cloak. Blind beggars smelt him coming and called his true title, "Son of David".

And in the pre-dawn light of a Sunday morning, incense was laid aside as the women bowed at the feet of a risen, victorious Saviour.

One smell. Two very different reactions.

Why would it be different for his followers?

Christian, you stink! But what do you stink of?

When you smell like the world, you'll fit in just fine. But when you smell like Jesus... well, sometimes that'll be wonderful—the smell of life. But sometimes, simply because you smell like Jesus, you will make someone gag.

And that's ok. Love them anyway. Ask Jesus to give you the grace and strength to pray his prayer, "Father forgive them, they know not what they do".

Plastic Apples

Plastic Apples

Weekend Wandering (15/09)

Weekend Wandering (15/09)