“For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. ” 2 Corinthians 2:15-16
When you walk into a flower shop, you are overwhelmed with the aroma of freshly cut flowers. It is a beautiful scent that might even bring about feelings of peace and joy and reminders of loved ones. In a similar way, the scent of your favorite food might have the same affect. Mine is pizza. When I walk into a room that smells of freshly cooked pizza, I long for a piece and can’t wait to have one. I could eat it every day and still not get enough.
In a contrasting way, the scent of sewage is repulsive and even unbearable. Perhaps you’ve come across an area with a sewage spill or an outhouse that hasn’t been cleaned in what seems like centuries, or perhaps you’ve walked into a room where a carcass of an animal has been rotting for several days. These smells make you gasp and reach to cover your entire face as quickly as possible to rid the smell.
In the same way as the flowers or pizza, when you are sharing the Gospel of Christ with some, the beautiful scent is engulfed by the listener and they cannot get enough. “Tell me more.” “Where have you been my whole life?” “Something has been missing and this is it!” They are RED APPLES. God has brought them through circumstances in their lives to ripen them to the hearing of the Gospel. He prepares their heart to receive His message and so once His message is shared, their lives are transformed and they come running back to Him with joy in their hearts.
In the same way as the sewage and rotting carcass, when you are sharing the Gospel of Christ with many, the rotten stench of death engulfs the listener making him run to cover his face to stop it from entering his breathing. He wants no part of the message and may outright reject and rebel the message. God has brought them through circumstances in their lives, but instead of being ripened, they became bitter and hardened and cannot hear the Gospel. Their souls are convicted of their rebellion though it is not recognized by them. They are GREEN APPLES. They are not ready to hear, and sadly, may not ever be ready to hear. They are running away as fast as they can.
There are WAY more GREEN apples then RED apples. You have to be willing to share God’s message with many green apples in hopes of finding the hidden, few red apples that God has ripened for the picking.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many [Green Apples] enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few [Red Apples] find it.” Matthew 7:13-14
God does not care about the response you get back from those apples you share with. He only cares that you share it with them. Be ready to be rejected by many green apples, but in the end, God will pull out those to whom He’s turned red, for those are His children.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we, [the red apples] should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world [green apples] does not know us is that it did not know him.” 1 John 3:1
Father God, Thank you for ripening our heart to hear your message. You alone can change us to red apples, ready to receive your message. Help us to not be discouraged when we come across the green apples, but to remember that you have asked us to share with all so that you can save some like you have saved us. What joy it is to be used by you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.