A post from several years ago about our silly issues.
38Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” John 11:38-44
One of my favorite ever episodes of Seinfeld is The Smelly Car episode from season 4. If you are not familiar with it, here is a quick recap. The show opens with Jerry and Elaine outside a restaurant waiting on the valet to bring Jerry’s car to them. They get in the car and immediately notice a horrible odor. They finally decide that it had to be body odor from the valet. The rest of the episode is spent with Jerry trying to rid the odor from the car, and Elaine trying to rid it from herself. Jerry even tries to sell the car and the show closes with him leaving his car and the keys in front of a homeless person, who himself is revolted by the smell.
It is human nature to be repulsed by bad smells. Martha understood this and cautioned Jesus about the bad stench in the tomb. Once again, however, Jesus responds in a way that shows He is looking beyond the surface to what really matters. He tells Martha that she is about to see the glory of God. What happens next is a simply amazing event. Yes, Jesus had raised people from the dead before, but never someone that had been dead this long. They had all been immediately after the person had died; Lazarus, though, had been dead for four days! Martha got to witness this spectacular miracle by getting beyond her silly concerns about the smell.
I sometimes wonder if we are not also missing out on seeing God’s glory because we are so caught up on shallow, surface level concerns. I think of Mother Teresa and how she spent her life working among some of the poorest and smelliest people in the world. I think she was greatly blessed because of this. She was able to see great things happen for God, because she was looking at what matters to Him and not to us. It is very easy to only want to help those that are like us and do not stink, but this is not what God intends for us to do.
Today I urge you to go beyond your normal walls of influence and ministry and go to those who are unlike you, and yes those that possibly stink. They need Jesus’ love just as much as anyone else, and if we are going to leave His footprints, then we will be concerned about them.