During the 1980s there was a cool commercial for a leading brand of plastic food wrap. We say “cool” because it featured a Bengal tiger. Hey, ya gotta respect a tiger! Tigers outrank every other mammal. After all, just
look at all their stripes! (Sorry. 😬)
In the commercial, two thick, juicy steaks are completely covered in plastic wrap: one in the big-name brand, and one in their competitor’s product. Both steaks are then tossed into a cage with a ferocious, starving (and quite handsome) tiger.
The big cat pays no attention to the meat covered in the advertiser’s plastic wrap — because the tiger can’t smell it. However, he devours the steak covered in cheap food wrap in record time, because he could smell the meat through the plastic. The advertiser’s point was that their wrap didn’t allow any air (and hence, aroma) to pass through, so it kept food fresher. As Mr. Spock would say, “Fascinating.” But that’s not the most interesting aspect of the commercial.
Taste and smell work together. Have you ever walked into someone’s kitchen and smelled a cake baking. You probably weren’t hungry until the aroma from the oven smacked you right in the kisser! And yet, after getting one whiff of cake, you start salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs for a thick slice of dessert. What happened! Well, the aroma gave you an appetite for what you were smelling.
Our sense of smell actually works together with our sense of taste. God in His wisdom gave us both senses, and here’s why: people are like tigers; we usually won’t try a new food unless it appeals to our sense of smell. Hey, the nose knows. Which is also why we usually smell food for freshness, well before committing ourselves to the first sip of milk or bite of cheese.
We can tell you that a certain food –one you’ve never tried before — is absolutely delicious. But if you can’t smell that it’s good, then you essentially have to take our word for it. We can even serve it to you on a tray with a fresh daisy beside it; but if there’s no aroma to help trigger your appetite, there’s a good chance you won’t try it! On the other hand, if something smells delicious to you, then you’ll probably go out of your way to ask us to share it with you!
Throw a steak on the grill. Once it starts to sizzle, and that smoky barbecue aroma fills the air, your neighbor will suddenly remember it’s time to return the weed-eater he borrowed last month. He’ll be leaning over the fence, hypnotized by the smell of the A1 sauce, and hoping he gets an invite. Of course, we’ve all been on both sides of the fence — not hungry until we encounter some intoxicating aroma!
So, where are we going with this? Well, faith and works go together the same way taste and smell do. Our faith in God, along with the joy and abundant life He brings when we trust in Him, are something we’d love to serve to our neighbors. One huge problem, though: they don’t know just how good the things of God are! They’ve never tasted them before. Perhaps, they’re not even “hungry” for the things of God. Although we can continuously tell them just how “tasty” a believer’s life is, unless there’s a delicious aroma to entice them, to alert them to something delicious, there’s a good chance they won’t try it! Sad, but true!
That’s where the aroma of our faith kicks in. Just as good food emits a wonderful fragrance, so too should our faith — and our lives as believers. The Bible states, “…We are the aroma of the Messiah … the sweet smell of life leading to more life.” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16 CJB) This pleasing aroma is emitted when we demonstrate what we believe in. When we love others, when we give, serve, and encourage those around us, the pleasing aroma of godliness attracts our neighbors just like the smell of the backyard grill. Whether we call it “good works” or “faith in action,” demonstrating what we believe in will always make others hungry for what we can share.
“…Through us, [God] brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life.” (2 Corinthians 2:15-17 MSG)
Jesus commanded us not to hide our light (the light of truth) under a basket, where no one can see it. In the same way, don’t “store your beliefs with plastic food wrap!” Instead, allow the world to smell the sweet aroma of Godliness — by living out what you believe! When you do, the aroma of
your good works will help create a genuine appetite for the good things of God; and your friends, family and coworkers will come around asking, “That smells delicious! Can I please have a taste!”
“Taste and see that the LORD is good! How blessed is the person who trusts in him!” (Psalm 34:8 NIV)