Chanel Number 1

Chanel Number 5 I think is one of the more pricier perfumes, but I think Chanel Number 1 has a lesson worth learning.

St. Peter Chanel, the patron saint of Oceania, was martyred there on April 28, 1841.  I heard about him on Catholic radio, Relevant Radio.  I’m paraphrasing but this is what the  announcer said.  Initially St. Peter Chanel was well received,  but once the natives realized he was there to make converts and not merely to learn the language and the local customs, he was clubbed to death.

Never has the sweet perfume of bodily suffering for the Name ever escaped these impious pores, but I have learned the lesson of Chanel Number 1.  When you bait and switch, you make people mad.  You think you’re baiting a nice, straying sheep, but when the switch comes you have a snarling wolf on your hands…more aptly at your heels.

A man in his 40s is dying of a terminal disease.  His wife is a member, she asks me to visit him so I do.  He accepts, welcomes even, several visits of the “Gee you’re a great guy, we have a lot in common, and I can lift your spirits” genre.  On the third or fourth visit, I bring out the real reason a pastor calls on the sick and dying.  As you know, Christ isn’t the sweet odor of Chanel Number 5 to some but the stench of death (2 Cor. 2: 15-16)…and who wants more death when dying?  When he found I wasn’t there to win friends and influence people but preach a crucified Christ, he said, and though it’s been a decade and more ago I’m pretty much quoting, “I want none of that @!#*.”  As he wished, so he received.

Go to someone in the name of mercy, hope, help, friendship, love, and good cheer, and you will be welcomed.  Go in the Name of Christ crucified, and you may find a sheep.  Go in the name of the former and switch to the latter and you will find someone who thinks you’re a con man at best or a weakling at worst.

Hopefully, if you conclude you’re one or the other, you’ll repent.  Lord help you if you think the problem was you brought out “the goods” too soon, or worse yet you learn not to bring them out at all.

About Paul Harris

Pastor Harris retired from congregational ministry after 40 years in office on 31 December 2023. He is now devoting himself to being a husband, father, and grandfather. He still thinks cenobitic monasticism is overrated and cave dwelling under.
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