Aroma of Heaven

Driving in to work recently, I found I was not really looking forward to the day. I like my job, but there are so many things I want and need to be doing at home that I couldn’t shake the feeling that my time would be better served there.

It didn’t help that I was caught in the infamous Highway 280 traffic. (Well, it’s infamous if you live here in Birmingham.) Three lanes of bumper to bumper traffic going nowhere fast. As I sat in traffic, idling away four dollar a gallon gasoline, I got a whiff of something wonderful. I immediately knew what it was, and it brought a great big smile to my face.

I looked over to the roadside and saw it. It was literally a wall of honeysuckle. I am almost certain that the aroma of honeysuckle will be wafting through heaven when I get there. It is just such a heavenly smell, isn’t it?

Immediately, I thought, “Wow, Thanks God for providing that little piece of heaven for me this morning.” I really needed it. Right on schedule, God was there to provide.

I thought of that honeysuckle throughout the day, and how God provides for me in wonderful ways. As the day wore on I thought of something else, but the aroma of it wasn’t nearly so pleasing.

I was reminded particularly of the way Paul started out his letter to the Romans. He identified himself as “Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus.”. So what’s a bondservant?

On its basic level a bondservant is simply following your master to the complete disregard of your own will, emotions, desires.

I began to think of all the times I treated Christ as though he were my bondservant rather than the other way around. I behave as though Jesus is my personal assistant whose job it is to see to it that I have all my needs met and all my desires granted.

“Dear God, bless and keep my children. Guard their goings and comings.”

“Dear God, Help my husband to find the favor of men and help him uphold the calling you have on his life.”

“Sweet Jesus, please let them have these shoes in my size!”

“Dear God, grant this wish and that want, and do it quickly, Lord. I need you now!”

The realization of it all came upon me like a Looney Toons anvil right between the eyes. How often in this relationship I have with Jesus do I expect to be the one served? The truth wasn’t pretty. It’s quite often.

Like a loving father, God loves to bless his children. I don’t think it’s wrong of us to ask Him to meet our needs and even grant some of our wants. I love it when I can do that for my own children. How much more, then, does it thrill him to do it for me?

But when the child begins to expect- and even demand- those needs be met and wishes granted, it steals a bit of the joy from the giving parent.

Parents sacrifice so that their kids can have things. God sacrificed, too, so that I could be in right relationship with Him again. It was a great sacrifice. One I can hardly fathom. I pray that I won’t soon forget who is the Master and who is the bondservant. I utter with my mouth that I want to live my life to serve him, but I think I need to work on my attitude and actions matching up with what I say. If I am honest, I spend far too much time serving myself and expecting Him to do the same.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

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