I was at the local garden center with my 8 year old grandson, Jeff. We were in search of a rose bush to replace one in the garden that had died. I’d told Jeff that I wanted a fragrant rosie, not one that was just pretty to look at.
He began leaning over all the tightly budded rose bushes, sniffing. After a few moments, he pronounced that none of the roses were a lot smelly, yet. A few, he could “kind of” smell some light fragrance, but nothing really and truly SMELLY.
I explained to him that roses have to come into full bloom before they get “smelly.” Thinking about his new rose gardening knowledge, Jeff said, “So you have to give the rose time before it can start being really smelly?” As we walked, looking at the roses, he said that he noticed the more into full bloom the flower was, the more fragrant it was. We selected a rose that had a slight scent and a tag promising the rose would be fragrant when it did bloom.
Did you know that fragrant offerings, called incense, were an important part of worship in Biblical times? (Numbers 4:16, II Chronicles 13:11). The fragrance that came from the smoldering incense represented the prayers of God’s people, those in covenant relationship with Him. Psalm 141:2, believed to be written by David, says, “Let my prayer be set forth as incense before you.”
Since the atoning blood of Jesus at Calvary, we no longer have to make ritual offerings and sacrifices. In Revelation 8:3-4 the prayers of the saints are mixed with incense. Today’s fragrant offering is a life lived in loving obedience, an intimacy in relationship with Jesus through prayer.
The Scripture says in Romans 12:1-2 that we are to be a living sacrifice. Our daily lives should be lived in such a way that we please God. The Apostle Paul used the illustration of fragrance to show the church at Philippi how God views acts of giving. (Philippians 4:18)
Ephesians 5:2 says, “Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” When we love God the “fragrance” of our love for Him can be seen in our attitudes through witness or our sacrificial giving of time, talents and offerings. The “fragrances” rise before Him and give Him great pleasure. I love it when God uses everyday examples, like fragrance, to point out spiritual concepts!
When grouped together, the scent of a bouquet of rosies is intoxicating with its depth and complexity. As each rosie has its individual fragrance; some sweet, some spicy, some fruity, we each come to the Lord with our own ‘fragrances.’ Our works and giving each according to our own ability with our own “scent” of sacrifice.
As we grow in Christ, our attitudes toward the things of God mature and we get more involved in God’s work. Like the roses that grow into bud and slowly mature until they have their own flower and fragrance; over time, we begin to bloom and become more “smelly.”
The longer I serve my Lord, the more I’m aware of not only the importance of living every day for Jesus, seeking His direction, but the desire to give of myself. The fragrance of our life sacrifice is pleasing to God, an important part of our worship, as maturing Christians.
Philippians 4: 18 I (Paul) have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.
Prayer: Lord God, help me to live my life so that every action, thought and attitude are pleasing to you. I want to be a living sacrifice that my every day activities are a sweet fragrance. I love you. Amen.
Numbers 4:16 16 “Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest, is to have charge of the oil for the light, the fragrant incense, the regular grain offering and the anointing oil. He is to be in charge of the entire tabernacle and everything in it, including its holy furnishings and articles.”
II Chronicles 13:11 11 Every morning and evening they present burnt offerings and fragrant incense to the Lord. They set out the bread on the ceremonially clean table and light the lamps on the gold lampstand every evening. We are observing the requirements of the Lord our God. —
Revelations 8:3-4 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people,on the golden altar in front of the throne. 4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand.
Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.