The weather forecast predicted a beautiful day today, so I delayed my morning walk until later in the morning so I could fully enjoy the sunshine and late summer/early autumn air.  I looked  forward to having a peaceful walk, time alone when my thoughts could roam free, and hopefully encounter God somehow with something inspiring or gaining His perspective in my thoughts. 

What I encountered were the neighborhood garbage trucks!   Not only were they loud and distracting, they STUNK!!!   Oh, the smell was awful!  And they were all throughout the neighborhood!  I’d manage to get ahead of one, and another would pull out in front of me.  They were ALL stinky! 

Stinkin’ thinkin’ entered my head as I silently grumbled, “Why do I have to smell so many stinky smells?  First thing this morning was the cat’s litter box (yuck).  Then I discovered the dog’s ‘accident’.  She can’t help it, she has tummy problems, but it’s stinky and disgusting nonetheless.  The next bad smell was my son’s soured towel.  And this was all before 5:30 this morning!  Then there’s my son’s stinky-sweaty football gear he brings home everyday.  Worse than that is smelling him for 20 minutes on the way home from his sweaty practices.  Oh, and what about the boys when they come in from the fresh outdoors not smelling so fresh?”  (My husband says I smell bad, too, when I come in from outside.  Surely not! ) Even my walk is spoiled with the smell of garbage!”  Before my grumbling  could go on, God broke into my thoughts to say, “I have to smell bad things, too.”  At first I wondered if he could smell our stinky rotten trash all the way up to wherever He is, then I remembered the Bible says our bad behaviors, evil ways, ignorance of God, and hypocritical worship rise up as a bad stench to the Lord.   In reference to the sinful people of Isaiah’s time, God said:  “…These people are a stench in my nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away.” (Isaiah 65:5)   Surely that stench is worse than any we encounter here on earth.  “Sorry, God.”

As I continued my walk, my thoughts continued, too.  Stinky waste and refuse are an unavoidable part of our existence on this planet.  Bad behaviors and sinful worship are not.  Instead of living and worshipping (or failing to worship at all)  in a way that rises like a stench to the Lord, we can live and worship in ways that rise up like a pleasing fragrance, instead.  We should live this way not only to be pleasing to God, but also to help lead others to Him, as stated in  2 Corinthians 2:15:  For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 

No more stinkin’ thinkin’ (or behavior) for me.  I want to be a pleasing fragrance to the Lord and those around me, too. 

The garbage trucks continued to be with me until I turned onto our street.  As I walked up the hill that leads to our house, a fresh breeze began to blow.  I wanted to gulp it in to rid myself of the garbage smell stuck in my nose.  All I could think as I approached our house was that I could use some aroma therapy!  God responded with humor in His tone to say, “I could use some, too!”    So noted, God.  We’ll try to do better. 

May the fragrance of goodness be all about you as you seek to please Him, too.  God bless you!