Tuesday, August 18, 2015

How Do I Smell To Others?

I happened upon a new reality TV show the other night while channel surfing. I admit I gravitate to the competition reality shows the most and this was a competition to see who would be the next weather personality. Don't laugh, this one episode actually was pretty entertaining for me because one of the contestants was a young pastor.  I was curious to see how he performed and how others perceived him. 
It turned out that the young pastor was the central figure of the show as his over-the-top personality irritated all of the other contestants. The contestants were divided into two teams for a competition and this young pastor just took over the team acting as self appointed leader. It was as if he had taken an intense course in leadership the day before and he was going to use every leadership quote, inspirational charge and team building concept he learned all in one setting. But his manner was way too contrived and he ended up looking like some sort of a cartoon character.

I could understand his motive but the way he went about it was akin to what the apostle Paul described in 1 Corinthians 13:1if I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or clanging cymbal.  This is a great description of how the pastor sounded to his team members and sure enough when they lost the team competition, the pastor was chosen as one of two competing to see who was going to be sent home.

In an interesting twist, the pastor chose not to compete, actually volunteering to go home and sacrificing his opportunity so that the person he was competing against could keep his dream of becoming a weather personality alive. It was an admirable decision but left everyone scratching their heads. Because the pastor seemed to try so hard, it came across as contrived and insincere and he lost whatever he was trying to accomplish.

The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 2:15 that we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.  Verse 17 says, Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.  

I've always thought that the most important self check is to take a sniff of our own aroma from time to time. Unfortunately, too often Christians' odor is more of a stench than the fragrance of Christ. How do you smell to other non-believers? Am I giving off a sweet aroma of sincerity and love or do I come across as a self-serving jerk, sounding like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal to others?  It's hard to know unless you ask your friends or fellow believers to give you a true assessment. You probably will never get a chance to see yourself on television and make that assessment yourself like this pastor.  
We may all be taken more seriously if we lived our lives with sincerity and love. 

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