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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Fragrance (10/24/05)

TITLE: Vapor in the Wind
By Al Boyce


The tang of death was in the air.

It was the dull, dusty scent of mouldering leaves mounded in gutters. More than that, there was the constant bite of woodsmoke from a thousand fires warding off the autumn chill. Those icy fingers beckoning to the unwary, saying, "Soon, soon my sister winter shall be here."

Susan shuddered and shrank deeper into her coat, smelling the mothballs of its summer exile in her aunt's closet. She dreamed of springtime, when she would once more smell lilies and forsythia and feel God's glory.

"This is the best time of the year," thought Joseph, smelling the earthy fragrance of newly fallen leaves beneath his feet. More leaves -- some red, some yellow, some brown -- spiraled down to join the piles, gently protecting the grass from the coming snows. He danced around a burning pile of leaves, feeling the ghostly tendrils of smoke caressing his cheeks and bringing brief, brilliant tears to his eyes. Licking flames promised a season of lazing by the fireplace, watching frost etch windows as God lovingly erased another year, preparing the way for another more vibrant than the last.

The same leaves, the same smoke, the same seasons spoke to Susan and Joseph that fall day. Yet the message was different.

The Apostle Paul was acutely aware of the way circumstances can alter the message of Christ. "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him," Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 2:14.

He recognized there would be days when our message fell on deaf ears or, worse, created anger, dissension and despair.

"For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing," he continued. "To the one, we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?"

That can be the most frustrating thing about being a Christian. We learn, gradually, to take the risk of speaking about our Lord. We try to put His teachings into practice. Then we look for results.

Often, instead of seeing our friends and co-workers following us to church and praising God, we see their eyes glaze over or suffer their disdain. And no, we do not feel equal to the task.

But like the leaves and the smoke, we are what we are -- the aroma of Christ. It is not up to us to present a fragrance they will like. Just one that they will remember, in God's perfect time.

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This article has been read 1389 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Kathy Bruins10/31/05
Wise words! Thanks for writing!
Sara Westhead10/31/05
I agree! Keep up the good work!
Helga Doermer10/31/05
The diverse experiences of the senses were well descriptions. Good grounding for your lesson.
Sally Hanan10/31/05
Lovely wisdom here. It would be good to add in asterisks between your pargraphs about Susan, Paul and Joseph.
Jesus Puppy 11/01/05
Very well worded, and the message conveyed Timeless. Very well done.
Cassie Memmer11/01/05
Good message! I enjoyed reading this.
Jan Ackerson 11/02/05
Nicely done (I'm a Susan).
terri tiffany11/02/05
I like how you set the stage and transitioned into Paul and the message. Nice work!
Nina Phillips11/02/05
Nice story! I think it reflects the seasons of spiritual growth also--deeper, richer etc. Some like it some don't but the more entrenched we are in Christ the sweeter becomes the aroma to all. Enjoyed this work. God bless ya, littlelight
Linda Watson Owen11/03/05
Deep truths here. Thank you for this inspiration today!
Joanne Malley11/03/05
Nicely stated with valuable insight; so true. I enjoyed your article! :)
Shari Armstrong 11/03/05
Very nicely done.
Karen Ward11/04/05
Loved the last paragraph! Real wisdom, and a great reminder.
:) Karen
B Brenton11/04/05
I like the start and I love the message but somehow these two things seem disconnected. Like it started one way and then ended another way I didn't expect.
Very wise God given message, though.
dub W11/04/05
Well written, think about a line or dash to break the first two paragraphs, I had to jump back to make sure I knew what was happening. Thanks for posting.
Julianne Jones11/04/05
Enjoyed the verses you used and the way your story illustrated their meaning. Well done.
Val Clark11/05/05
Mmm, particularly liked the grace expressed in the last paragraph. Yeggy