Were Cows Just Here?

Did a herd of cows visit my yard last night?

My olfactory senses were awakened as I walked outside my door.  The smell of manure was intense.  I had previously gone on an errand to drop off a form at the town office.  It appeared that the herd had visited the town office yard as well.  In fact, we learned that all town-owned properties had received a generous dump of manure based fertilizer.  Since our house is surrounded by a town park, we were recipients of this very special aroma.  Even now if I go outside and take a whiff….the smell  of cow dung fills my nostrils.  It’s not pleasant.

There are many things I love to smell.  I love the smell of bread baking, or of cookies in the oven.  My mouth waters when I come inside my house to the smell of a roast, especially when it is cooking with onions and garlic.  I enjoy the smell of coffee brewing in the morning.  I will soon enjoy the fragrance of the lilacs out my back door.  I don’t enjoy the smell of this concoction on the field by my house.

It is interesting to me to learn that God has a keen sense of smell.  Thirty nine times the Old Testament speaks of aromas that are pleasing to God.  These aromas are most often from roasted lamb; however at times it’s beef or  even bread being baked over a fire that brings pleasure to his sense of smell.

Actually, these verses aren’t written so we can know what kind of food God prefers.  Upon further study, the pleasing aroma is not so much from the smell of the food cooking, but from the hearts who laid these sacrifices on the altar. Yes, God can smell our hearts.   Those who were eager to sacrifice and to obey the will of God brought Him great joy.  He also knew when someone’s “sacrifice” was obligatory or from leftovers.  He was, and always has been, looking to see what is in our hearts as we approach Him.  God has shown us His love in a way no other ever has.  We didn’t and don’t deserve that kind of love yet he willingly gave his own son, his own self…for us.  In response, he desires our hearts, completely.

Romans 12:1

    Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.

In the New Testament, the new and superior plan God gave us after Jesus died we find out His sense of smell has not changed.

2 Cor. 2:14-17

    But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. [15] For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. [16] To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? [17] Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.

This tells me that when I walk with Jesus and spread the news of Him it smells wonderful to God.  And  that as I follow Christ I leave the fragrance of “eu de knowledge of Christ” that is more precious than any other fragrance imaginable. Those whose hearts desire to know God love this fragrance and gravitate to it.  To others, who don’t want to change their lives to please God  – it stinks.

I pray that the best fragrance known to God can exuded from me today.  Hopefully it can overcome the stench outside.






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  1. Shari Simpson-Cabelin

    I just love your posts. They always give me a laugh (very important to me, of course) and teach me something important. You got some good smell, JS.

    • jeanieshaw

      Thanks again Shari. Your encouragement helps. I so appreciate your humor. I really love to laugh.


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About Jeanie Shaw

After retiring from forty-five years in full-time ministry, Jeanie Shaw went back to school to earn her master’s and doctorate in spiritual formation and discipleship. She also serves as a certified Christian life coach who loves helping people discover the joy, peace, and purpose that come from finding and following God’s plan for their lives. She has taught classes and workshops all over the world and has written numerous books. She has four grown children, eight grandchildren, and a golden retriever who thinks he is human. When she is not reading, writing, coaching, teaching, or enjoying her family she might be found walking along rivers, learning new lessons about life.

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