"An Inside Perspective"

March 2012


My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! I grew up on Neville Island, a seven mile island in the middle of the Ohio river in Western Pennsylvania. There was only one school building on the whole island and it was kindergarten through twelfth grade. It sounds kind of funny nowadays, right?

Almost everybody walked to school including me. As a kindergartner, when I went to lunch, the cafeteria was filled with kids of all grade levels and we thought nothing of it. It was a small island and everybody seemed to know everything about everybody.

When the weather was nice I would walk to school in the morning, and then, walk back home for lunch. Mom would joyfully have it all ready and I would munch out and head back for afternoon classes. Halfway between the school and our house, though, there was a Wonder bread factory, and to this very day, forty-five years later, I can still smell that aroma! It was tantalizing. The savor seemed to exert some strange irresistible power over me as a child and I found it virtually impossible to walk past without stopping; and unbeknownst to Mom, stop I did!

It had a little store in the front with fresh everything everywhere, all on racks cooling! The sight and the fragrance was just mesmerizing. Fresh hot taste cakes, rolls, buns, a plethora of breads to excite the olfaction, truly everything that you could possibly imagine. I never had any money but I quickly learned that the sweet old lady behind the counter with the big blue hair was a softy. I would just stand there gazing with my face on the glass display case and she was constrained to offer me these awesome little “samples.”

From my perspective, we had a great relationship! I was the recipient of goodies divine and she no doubt was enjoying the pleasure of giving. To a growing seven year old boy, the amount was really only a tease; albeit to me, it appeared the very bread of heaven itself! ?

I really was not supposed to stop anywhere on the way to and from school. Mom was on me like white on rice and she had me timed! Like any good Mom, she knew exactly when I was supposed to be where. Therefore, for me to be able to stop and still make it home on time, I had to run full speed toward the glorious heavenly aroma, do my nose on the glass thing, and then blaze home munching the samples, and all much to the delight of Mrs. Bluehair. It was peanuts for a kid my age - - - or should I say hot soft rolls? Mind you, my Mom’s cooking was no joke either but this lady had me joyfully wrapped around her flour encrusted fingers. As I got older I suppose my baby face left me, and thus, the coveted samples were passed on to someone younger.

It is written, “Now thanks be to God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of His knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savor of death unto death; and to the other the savor of life unto life...” (2 Cor. 2:14-16)

All the above memories were brought back to me by a smell. They were triggered by an aroma, even a savor as it were, and all those long forgotten memories came flooding back. Did you know that God expects the exact same kind of effect from our Christian witness on the lives of others?

To those who are saved the memory of our faithfulness should trigger encouragement in the midst of their trials. The savor of our witness should also motivate them to press on to victory. Beloved, do you know that there is victory at the end of every trial? Perhaps you’re in a trial right now. Precious one, grab hold of this fresh bread now by faith, “...God...always causes us to triumph in Christ!” (exclamation mine)

To the unsaved we are God’s eternal testimony of grace in Christ. Our tantalizing savor should exert a strange irresistible power over unbelievers. Our fragrance should make it virtually impossible for them to walk past us without stopping for our awesome little “samples.” Beloved, you are the lady with the big blue hair offering Heavenly samples of Christ to the lost.

Yes precious one, you are the glass case in which God has chosen to display Christ to this world! God is on us like white on rice and our bread better be fresh! How dare we offer stale bread! We are constrained by God Himself to offer fresh samples to the lost, and that, with great joy!

The time is short. Though they believe not, yet, they are not without a witness, but because of you God has made them forever without excuse. Let it be our prayer that the Holy Spirit will trigger in them the savor of our witness in God’s perfect timing. Let us pray our words of hope and forgiveness in Christ will quicken their unbelief and God will grant them repentance unto Life. Beloved, be encouraged and know that between God and man you are the true . . .