Equipping study by Carmen Fowler LaBerge
Psalm 34:8 is God’s own express invitation to “taste and see that the Lord is good,” and indeed, He is!
From the manna of the wilderness to the milk and honey of the Promised Land, to the bread of the presence and the bread of heaven, God provides Himself as a savory feast for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Indeed, according to God’s promise, He Himself satisfies the gnawing hunger of every human heart for truth, beauty, love, holiness, meaning and glory.
This leads me to wonder:
- Do we taste and see that the Lord is good – even in the midst of circumstances that seem to run afoul of what we know to be to God’s perfect and pleasing will?
- How do we, as Christ’s body in the world today, invite others into the feast of God’s good and perfect plan in Christ Jesus the Lord?
As we have this conversation about spiritual food that nourishes, sustains and mobilizes the people of God, we must not lose sight of the reality that hunger is a stark physical need for many people today. This is a conversation that must be entered into with both seriousness and joy.
Jesus affirms in Matthew 5:13a that His disciples are the salt of the earth. That means that we are savory characters whose presence in the world is to serve as a preservative of all that is good and godly. It is hard for us to imagine that salt could lose its saltiness, but that is exactly what Jesus says. So, how salty are you? Not salty like a sailor but salty like Jesus – and what exactly does that mean?
As I think about how Jesus calls me to be salty as He is salty, I consider blood, sweat and tears.
- Blood: There is no sacrifice that God could ask us to make that compares to the sacrifice He has already made for us.
- Sweat: There is no labor that God could ask us to do that compares to the labor He has done, is doing and will do as He brings to completion the good work begun in and among us.
- Tears: There is no grief God could ask us to bear that compares to the grief He has born for us.
As Christ’s agents of God’s grace in the world today, disciples are to “spread everywhere the fragrance (savor) of the knowledge of Him. For we are to God the very aroma (savor) of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” (II Corinthians 2:14-15).
The senses of smell and taste are intimately connected and if you cannot smell, you cannot taste. So the idea of savoring something includes the reality of its aroma. We may revel in the invitation to taste and see the Lord’s goodness in a land flowing with milk and honey but do we equally embrace the call to carry the aroma of Christ into the world?
That question leads me to ask, “What does Jesus smell like?” I heard a friend preach a sermon on this passage once where he kept talking about Jesus’ stink. And indeed, Jesus stinks to many. What is a fragrance of heavenly hope to you is a pungent reminder of the stench of sin and the smell of death to others. Have you ever smelled death? I have. It’s painful.
The Scriptures declare that while we are the aroma of Christ to God – living sacrifices, fragrant offerings – we are the aroma of death to those who are perishing. Think back to the idea that you are salt. Salt brings out the flavor and serves as a preservative – but salt in a wound or salt in your eyes stings and burns. The same holds true for the response to authentic Christian witness in the world today.
The PLC recognizes this reality and we are committed to be the SAVOR of the Savior in every time and place – pouring out our blood, sweat and tears for the world that God so loves. Our hope and prayer is that our salt remains salty and our sacrifice acceptable to the Lord whom alone we worship and serve.
Join us on the journey to SAVOR the Savior!
For more equipping studies by Carmen, visit www.layman.org/equip
Download the Fall 2014 Layman — Final print issue
Excellent teaching, thank you! Hebrews 5:14 tells us that mature believers are to have their senses exercised, gymnastically trained, to discern good and evil- the kalou from the kakou. That scent of Christ in one another should be spiritually stirring! (Remember John the Baptist while in utero, or the men on the road to Emmaus). It is a glimpse, or a whiff, of the Hope every time we recognize it. We are to remember that Jesus is coming back and we will be gathered together. As the old song says, ‘just one glimpse of Him in glory will the toils of life repay”.