Seven young grandkids were gathered around my wife to celebrate her birthday.  She was honored with crayon and construction paper cards and gifts of pipe cleaners and macaroni. 

There was one gift that was especially unique.  She gently pulled the tape and paper from the box.  It was an ALTOID tin.  Oh great – another grandkid who lacked tact. 

She shook the tin, but it did not answer.  She lifted the lid with anticipation, but the box was empty – completely vacant.  Not even a mint!

She looked at the face of her little giver for a clue.  He was beaming with pride and joy.  So, she tactfully asked, “Well – what is it?”   He said, “Smell it.”  She lifted it to her nose and detected the fragrant scent of a perfumed oil. 

Hmm – what was percolating in his little mind?  He must have smelled that oil at one point and it so delightfully filled his senses that he thought he should capture and share it.

Now whenever his grandma needs something sweet to smell, she’ll have it in her purse. 


Maybe we all need something sweet to smell because the news these days – well it stinks. 

Yesterday (9/10/21) I watched a news clip of an African American man who is a conservative political candidate in California.  He was assaulted by a woman who was wearing an ape mask and hurling racial insults and eggs at him.  How vile!

On the same day I read of a report in Long Beach California.  A 12-year boy was riding the city bus with his grandmother when a 40-year-old man boarded.   He sat down next to the boy, and without cause or warning began to pummel the boy’s face with his fists.   

He threw him across the bus and then busted the boy some more, while not one of the many passengers or the driver tried to stop it.   The man took the boy’s bag and then got off the bus. 

A culture with a stench!   I was sickened as I took in the news.  Jesus spoke of a day when, “most people’s love will grow cold.”  (Matt 24:12.)  Feels like we’ve arrived.

Our world could use more fragrance and less ferocity, and this is the Lord’s plan on how to do that.   

Paul revealed it in 2 Cor 2:14-15.  He wrote, “…thanks be to God who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and who makes known through us the fragrance that consists of the knowledge of him in every place. For we are a sweet aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing…” NET Bible ®

The apostle says that God’s people are that fragrance.  We carry with us a sweet aroma of Christ both to the saved and the unsaved. 

The message we proclaim of God’s unmerited grace, and His rich mercy and forgiveness toward sinners.  That’s a breath of fresh air especially in this day of “cancel culture.”     

Couple that message with selfless deeds of kindness and service to others, and a sweet fragrance begins to dispel the stench that the evil has imposed on us.

My friend Kathy lives in Galveston and she recently took a picture of a telephone pole in the alley near her home.  There is a homemade box tacked to it about 5 feet up the pole.  It holds three ice-cold bottles of water.  They were left there for the men who pick up the trash.  This kind person puts them out every trash day.

Can you smell it? – so fragrant so sweet!

These days evil and righteousness are competing for air space.  In all honesty our world sorta smells like a bathroom after someone has tried to hide the odor with a can of Glade – an uncomfortable  mixture of smells. 

But Jesus said that the gates of hell will not overpower His church.  (Matthew 16:18) Not even the smell of hell. 

So, with the Lord’s promise and His power let’s be fervent to live and to speak the Gospel.  Let’s refresh the air

A PRAYER: Lord this sometimes seems to be a hopeless ambition, but we know it is not.  Help us to be faithful in our work and our witness.    

This has been Jim Johnson and

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.