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March 7, 2023

“And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2, ESV).

Yesterday morning one of my colleagues, whose office is next to mine, walked into my office just before clinic started.

“Do you smell that?” he asked.

I did not.

“There’s something that smells really bad, and it seems to be coming from my office.”

As he talked, I began to smell a faint, distant, foul odor.

“I’ve looked everywhere,” he continued. “And I can find nothing rotten.”

“You may have a dead animal in the ceiling,” I suggested.

He agreed, “I’ve called housekeeping to come check it out.”

I went to clinic and did not see him again until later that day.

“I found the stink,” he said, passing by my room. “Dog doo. I’m throwing these shoes away.”

Sometimes the stink is on us—and it’s not always easy to find it.

It’s quite easy for me to recognize the pride in another and not see my own.

It’s quite easy for me to see the greed in another and not see my own.

It’s quite easy to criticize the lack of kindness in a fellow worker and miss the way I treated my nurses when under pressure.

None of us are stinkless, but most of us are so used to our own smell that we only notice the malodor of others.

God expects us to smell good.

“For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15, NIV).

To become that aroma, we need to check our shoes. Each evening we should look back on our day and see where we were unkind, or selfish, or focused on getting rather than giving, focused on being served rather than on serving. That’s not what Christ smelled like.

Certainly, we can never be Jesus, but we can, step by step, work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12), searching for ways we need to change, devoting ourselves to that change, and then we can let God work in us “to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13, NIV).

It begins by being self-aware and sniffing close to home.

Dear God,
Please make my sin clear to me, so that I might set it down and leave it.

Al Weir, MD

Al Weir, MD

After leaving academic medicine, Dr. Weir served in private practice at the West Clinic in Memphis, Tennessee from 1991-2005 before joining the CMDA staff as Vice President of Campus & Community Ministries where he served for three years from 2005-2008. He is presently Professor of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Program Director for the Hematology/Oncology fellowship program. He is also President of Albanian Health Fund, an educational ministry to Albania where he has been serving for 20 years. He is the author of two books: When Your Doctor Has Bad News and Practice by the Book. Dr. Weir’s work has also been published in many medical journals and other publications. Al and his wife Becky live in Memphis, Tennessee, and they have three children and three grandchildren. Dr. Weir is currently serving on CMDA's Board of Trustees.

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