Eau de Whale Guts
2 Corinthians 2:15: "For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish."
As one perfume expert puts it, "It's beyond comprehension how beautiful it is. It's transformative. Its like an olfactory gemstone."
The perfumer was describing ambergris, a waxy excretion found in the intestines of sperm whales. Since most countries have made it illegal to slaughter sperm whales, ambergris is very hard to come by. In fact, it is almost worth its weight in gold. As one beachcomber observed, "There aren’t too many professions where you could go to work and stumble upon $30,000 one morning."
Bloomberg Business writes, "To outsiders, it may seem like easy money – ambergris can wash ashore anywhere there are sperm whales." Ironically, many ambergris hunters don’t even know which whale orifice it comes from. As neuroscientist Chris Kemp said, "Despite what most people think, it is not vomit. That's one of the biggest misnomers about ambergris. Unfortunately, it comes out the other end."
Sure enough, ambergris smells like perfumed cow dung. What makes ambergris so special is that it amplifies the other fragrances found in perfumes. As one perfumer noted, "It alters the quality of the existing notes and makes them bigger, deeper and more expansive than they can ever be on their own."
Unlike fragrant perfumes, sinful man has nothing within himself that smells good before a holy God. And if you amplify our natural scent, we only smell worse. But when Christ enters our lives, we give off the sweet-smelling aroma of Christ to others. Best of all, we smell good to God, too!.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus to replace the foul stench of a sinner with the wonderful aroma of a new creature in Christ! In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Notes: Eric Spitznagel, "Ambergris, Treasure of the Deep," Bloomberg Business, 1/12/12. Photo: Ambergris, photographed by Peter Kaminski. (CC BY 2.0)
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