How do you smell?

“You smell like petrol!”

This was the greeting I received as I came home from work having just stepped off my motorbike; obviously the residue of the traffic had left its tell-tale sign.

I couldn’t smell anything and I often can’t but to say that my wife has a highly developed ‘olfactory capacity’ is a drastic understatement… I have found that she can smell anything on anyone from about five meters away.

Some smells are very welcome; people spend surprising amounts on perfume and clever devices which deliver pleasing fragrances into their homes. There is nothing like the smell of a baked dinner or the comforting waft of a cake which has just been taken out of the oven.

However, other smells are not so welcome: the wet dog for instance; or the mould growing through carpet in the downstairs room; or the silent but deadly gift someone anonymously leaves behind.

What we do will often determine how we smell – if we go for long run or an extended session at the gym there will be a change in our outward fragrance.  If we visit the scene of a bushfire there will be no doubt of what we have been up to. If we sit in an office all day, catch the train home, or go for a walk on the beach there is an impact upon how we smell.

I have been flying inter-state quite frequently recently and I enjoy the fact that people on the early morning flights often smell fantastic. (I don’t make a weird habit of smelling people’s necks but you can’t miss the fact that they are prepared for the day and they smell great!)  Often on the last plane heading home, things are not the same – people are not as fresh, they don’t smell as good and for some their deodorant has died completely and a different fragrance is now in command.

The Bible says that Christ and in fact every one of us leaves a ‘fragrance’ behind – now this is either something positive and life-affirming or negative and critical.

Christ’s fragrance is ‘life and health and peace’ but the question is “How do you smell?”

Your smell is determined by where and who you spend your time with – so if you don’t like the way you smell then perhaps you needs to adjust your environment.  Smelling like ‘life’ is so much better than smelling like ‘death’.


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