But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. (2 Corinthians 2:14) English Standard Version
Daniel J. Habben
A few years ago, I studied 2 Corinthians 2:14 with the leaders of my congregation. We were happy to be reminded that as followers of Christ we are participating in a victory parade. We Christians need that reminder, because our walk to heaven doesn’t always feel victorious. Instead, it often feels like we’re a parade of clowns. The world has a good laugh at our beliefs, and our own human limitations trip us up like oversized clown shoes.
Not according to plan
That’s how our congregational leaders felt as we met to discuss a building project that had run into some difficulties. Didn’t we know what we were doing? Not really, as it turns out. But in the end, the Lord worked everything out so that we were able to finish construction and present to the congregation a beautiful and functional building.
What are some difficulties you are facing? Have you spent the week submitting resumés in the hopes of securing a few interviews? Have you sent a child away to school for the first time and feel anxious about how he or she will cope? Are you trying to figure out how to care for aging parents while also looking after your spouse and children?
Notice how the apostle Paul never said that the parade route would be easy. We’re not marching down a broad boulevard to heaven. Quite the contrary! Jesus warned that the way to heaven is a narrow road that few find (Matthew 7:13,14).
Although our route is narrow and unpopular, that doesn’t change the fact that we are indeed marching in a victory parade. High above us snaps the banner of our Savior, a sharp retort to Satan who says we don’t belong in such a parade. Sure, we do. Ahead of us walks Jesus himself. He knows the way. He’s been down this road before and has already unlocked the door to heaven—for us.
Beside us are fellow Christians who encourage us in our journey, even as they receive encouragement from us. Angels guard our flanks. None of this escapes the notice of others. We Christians exude an aroma says Paul—the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ.
Our victory parade
Granted, not everyone likes the scent. Many will continue to turn up their noses at us as we pass. Don’t be surprised by this. Don’t use it as an excuse to “tip-toe” past certain people, hoping not to disturb them. We’re in a victory parade! Make some noise!
Let others know of the confidence we have because of Jesus’ forgiveness and his promise to keep caring for us. Explain to your friends why you’re not worried about your job prospects or about your children who are now out on their own or about the added responsibilities you have as you care for those aging parents. We are in the Lord’s care, and in the end, all our troubles will turn to joy.
But we won’t march in step with our Lord if we’re not regularly hearing his voice.
Now that summer is over, congregations are resuming Sunday school and Bible classes. Jump back into these spiritual growth opportunities. Be assured that we Christians aren’t a parade of clowns, nor are we just biding our time until our Savior’s return. We’re marching with him in triumphal procession.
Contributing editor Daniel Habben is pastor at St. John, Saint John, Antigua.
Do you have a manuscript, idea, or story from your own life you’d like to share for use in Forward in Christ or on wels.net? Use our online form to share it to our editorial office for consideration.
Get inspirational stories, spiritual help, and synod news from Forward in Christ every month. Print and digital subscriptions are available from Northwestern Publishing House.
Author: Daniel J. Habben
Volume 105, Number 9
Issue: September 2018
Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2019
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us