I am one of a large family and sometimes when we had guests my mom thought there wouldn’t be enough (which obviously never happened). Then she would send a code around the table: FHB – family, hold back! Afterwards we would say jokingly: It wasn’t a lot, but it’s in!
I was thinking about that, because Paul was so grateful even though he received very little from the people. But he still said: 18And now I have it all—and keep getting more! The gifts you sent with Epaphroditus were more than enough …
Whatever Paul received was more than enough for him. He was very, very grateful and didn’t ask for anything more. If you have nothing and you receive something, it’s a lot. That is why Paul was so grateful.
But Paul didn’t stop there. He also described to the givers how God feels about it. Have you ever wondered how God feels when people help one another? When people see others suffering? Paul puts it so well: 18… like a sweet-smelling sacrifice roasting on the altar, filling the air with fragrance, pleasing God no end.
God wants to do good to people. God wants to do good to every person on earth. It is God’s greatest desire that people’s hardship should be made less. And He uses people to ease a lot of suffering less. People actually become God’s hands and feet.
God enjoys it so much when we obey his command to help others, to make things easier for others, and to create better circumstances for other people. It smells like fresh flowers and sends the aroma of excitement to the gates of heaven.
I really wonder how many smells I’ve sent up to God. How many times did God hope that I would get up out of the easy chair when I saw hardship? That would have a good smell, but I chose to look away and do nothing.
I realize we face enormous challenges in the world. We’ve put the bar so high that even we are no longer satisfied with the simple things in life. Nowadays, when you ask how much is enough, the voices call out all around: More! More is enough!
Maybe we should look around at the people who have less than us, so that we can see what we already have. Then, hopefully, we’ll be overcome with gratitude. Then, hopefully, we’ll realize how much we have and be driven to help others.
In that way we will become God’s hands and feet. Know then: 18… like a sweet-smelling sacrifice roasting on the altar, filling the air with fragrance, pleasing God no end.
Let the sweet smells rise up to God!
Do you notice the need of others?
Are you doing enough?
What does it smell like?
Father, can I ever do enough out of gratitude for what You have done for me? No, never! I realize I have to do more. Open my eyes. Please help me to leave my selfishness behind so that I can become your hands and feet all around. Amen