Years ago, when I was in Brazil for the second or third time I picked up a beautiful little framed wall hanging of the most exquisite blue butterflies you have ever seen. It was one of those things you buy and say, “I don’t know where in the world I’m gonna put this, but I just gotta have it!” So I got it, and for the last ten years it has held a prominent spot in a box in the attic!
A few weeks back I spotted it and immediately thought, my granddaughter would love this. Las week I proudly presented her with yet another trinket that I’m sure her mommy would just love to hang in her new house! You grandparents are reading me loud and clear here aren’t you? Well Kairi loved it and was taken by its beauty as I was, probably even more so since she is in the, “that’s beautiful” stage with flowers and colors. What I hadn’t planned on was the phone call I received later in the day from this sweet child… it went something like this. “Hello?” “Papaw it’s Kairi.” “Hello Kairi.” “Papaw, didn’t you say that these butterflies were real?” “Why yes dear I did.” “Well papaw, If they are alive why aren’t they moving?” (long pause) “Well,” I began, “the pretty butterflies lived a very long life and when they got very old and died someone put them in the frame so we could enjoy their beauty for many years.” (long pause) “OK Papaw, love I you bye.” Whew that was fun!
Oh I knew that question would come, I just thought I would be watching my daughter or son in law squirm in answering it. What I found out later was that Kairi’s sweet grandmother had dialed the phone while saying “Ask your Papaw!” However this little interaction got me to thinking about the beauty we leave long after we are gone.
With the help of A.W. Tozer let me introduce a little lady who has been dead for about six hundred years. She once lived and loved and prayed and sang in the city of Norwich, England. This little woman hadn’t much light and she hadn’t any way to get much light, but the beautiful thing about her was that, with what little Biblical light she had, she walked with God so wonderfully close that she became as fragrant as a flower. And long before Reformation times she was in spirit an evangelical and though she has now been with her Lord nearly six hundred years she has left behind her a fragrance of Christ.
England was a better place because this little lady lived. She wrote only one book, a very tiny book that you could slip into your side pocket or your purse, but it’s so flavorful, so divine, so heavenly, that it has made a distinct contribution to the great spiritual literature of the world. The lady to whom I refer is the one called the Lady Julian. The essence of her life and her life’s prayer was this: “O God, please give me three wounds; the wound of contrition and the wound of compassion and the wound of longing after God.” Then she added this little postscript, which I think is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read: “This I ask without condition.” She wasn’t dickering with God. She wanted three things and they were all for God’s glory: “I ask this without condition, Father; do what I ask and then send me the bill. Anything that it costs will be all right with me.” Tozer continues, All great Christians have been wounded souls. There was a man who talked about “a restless thirst, a sacred, infinite desire,” and that is what I want for my own heart. Among the plastic saints of our times Jesus has to do all the dying and all we want is to hear another sermon about His dying; Jesus does all the sorrowing and we want to be happy. But, my brethren, if we were what we ought to be, we would seek to know in experience the meaning of the words, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”
The thought that springs to my mind revolves around the fragrance we leave behind for I believe that a Godly life is not only a sweet aroma to God but a lasting influence to others. Let me suggest a few ways this happens. First a sweet fragrance brings goodness and joy to those who walk in its wake. Think of a sweet perfume or even the bloom of a lilac tree. Brings a smile doesn’t it? A beautiful aroma can create an appetite as well. All it takes is the smell of fresh baked bread from the kitchen to bring even the most slumbering of souls to life and prepare one for a meal! Oh Lord, may my life leave not only a winsome aroma which brings a smile but may it create in those who follow me and appetite for the things of God. That’s why Kairi, that’s why.
Throckmorton is the senior pastor at Crossroads Church in Circleville.