If you’ve raised a teenage boy who is the most resolute (ie, extremely stubborn) person you’ve ever known, this story may make sense to you.
Most days of our vacation were spent driving in the car. We drove through barren and desert lands in 80+ degree temperatures for 8 to 10 hours straight. As the journey progressed, we began noticing a very strange odor in the car … and then in our hotel room each night. It was like an expensive perfume made of ode-de-skunk, sewage-de-jour, and sweaty-wet three-weeks-unwashed gym clothes stuffed in an old locker. The scent followed us everywhere we went.
On day 14 of our 16-day trip, the stench in our tiny and very humid hotel room in the desert of Nevada became overwhelming. I got up to open the door to the outside world and noticed my 15-year old son sitting on the bed. Actually, it wasn’t so much Daniel I noticed, but what was on his feet.
The day before, we’d gone to swim in the Great Salt Lake of Utah. If you’ve ever been there, it’s indescribably beautiful, but also stinks. We’d gone swimming, but because Daniel fears the water, he walked out far enough onto the beach to merely touch the Lake and then return to the car.
There, on the hotel bed, were his still-wet and socked feet. The socks were a combination of dark grey and earthy brown. They were so crusty they could literally stand themselves upright on the bed. A brief discussion revealed that he’d been wearing the same socks every day for 2 weeks! At that revelation I grabbed his feet, chiseled off his socks, wrapped them tightly in a plastic bag and threw them outside before they could get up and run for their lives.
The smell of his socks didn’t bother him, but it made us want to vomit. So it is with the Gospel of Jesus. To the redeemed, Christ in you is a sweet-smelling fragrance; but the ungodly self-righteous, the message of salvation in Jesus alone by grace alone through faith alone is a putrid stench. We are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. We are the aroma of death leading to death among the unsaved, and to the saved, the aroma of life leading to life (2 Corinthians 2:15-16).