On Fridays and Saturdays, I head out to a old railway-bed-turned-running-trail to "run". It's my treat to run there on the shaded, flat, peaceful trail compared to dodging school buses and angry morning school traffic around our hilly neighborhood the rest of the week. Because I'm not much of a runner, but merely a "runner", I become quite the heavy breather at times. I'm always a little embarrassed when I pass someone I know on the trail because instead of smoothly saying hello it usually comes out like more of a cough or spit as I gasp for breath. Okay, I'm not that bad. But I do breath heavy enough through all orifices that take in air to notice many distinct smells.
Muggy days are especially interesting. In addition to the freshly cut tobacco in the field next to the trail, and the freshly paved parking lot at the adjacent sports facility, you can smell the baking "road apples" from the horses who walk the trail, as well as the cows chilling in the field along another section. There are distinct smells in distinct locations. The worst is a chicken barn after crossing the first roadway. That's the section where your drive is tested as each breath of putrid fowl-ness (get it?) seems to steal more oxygen.
One very strange thing I have noticed, however, is how pleasant most of the people I pass smell. Strange, right? I don't know if people perfume up before they run, or if they have some Old Spice body wash action going on, but you inevitably get that windy waft when you pass them by. And when you're huffing like me, you can't avoid a whiff. Today I wondered how awful the whiff I'm wafting must be...maybe that's why people shower before they run...common courtesy?
It got me thinking about the aroma that I'm wafting in a spiritual sense. The word aroma appears a lot in the Old Testament, typically connected to the system of sacrifices that produced an aroma pleasing to the Lord. Things change with the New Covenant as Christ fulfilled the Law and instead of the system of animal sacrifices, we instead become living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2). Instead of burnt animals, vegetables, or grain, our lives should produce an aroma; an aroma that is pleasing to the Lord, and an aroma that captures the attentions of others breathing in the air around us (2 Corinthians 2:14-16).
What are you wafting? What whiff are those around you getting? Is your life producing an aroma that is pleasing to the Lord? Are people blessed by the aroma your life is producing, or are they gasping for air and wishing they had taken a different route around you?