Stop and Smell the Roses

RosesMac Davis

Anyone familiar with Mac Davis?

Mac Davis is a songwriter, singer, and actor who was most popular in the 70s. Although his biggest hit, based on how high it charted, was “Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me,” perhaps his most fun song is “Hard to Be Humble”…whose chorus goes like this:

Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble

When you’re perfect in every way

I can’t wait to look in the mirror

Cause I get better looking each day

To know me is to love me

I must be a hell of a man

Oh Lord It’s hard to be humble,

But I’m doing the best that I can

It also has this classic line:

I never get lonesome

Cause I treasure my own company

Know anybody like that? 🙂

[ These are quick sermon notes…not cleaned-up…and missing the “extras” that come out in the audio (which is available here). All quotes are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted. ]

However, that’s not the Mac Davis song that inspired this sermon. Instead, a few weeks back when Michelle and I were following our tradition of listening to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 on SiriusXM’s 70s on 7 while getting ready for church, this chorus from another one of his hits played over the airwaves:

You got to stop and smell the roses

You’ve got to count your many blessings everyday

You’re gonna find your way to heaven is a rough and rocky road

If you don’t stop and smell the roses along the way

According to Billboard, that one got up to #9 in 1974…and with good reason. Mac Davis and Doc Severinsen (of Johnny Carson band leader fame) wrote it…it’s a catchy tune…and Mac Davis has a great voice.

And I would suggest that its message is biblical.

‘Cause You Are Told To

To see if I am right…let’s dive right into Scripture…

18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:18-21).

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

118 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;

for his steadfast love endures forever!

2  Let Israel say,

“His steadfast love endures forever.”

3  Let the house of Aaron say,

“His steadfast love endures forever.”

4  Let those who fear the LORD say,

“His steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 118:1-4).

What did those three selections tell you to do?

  • Give thanks always and for everything to God
  • Give thanks in all circumstances
  • Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good

So, should you give thanks to God? 🙂

How often? 🙂

So, yes it is biblical to stop and smell the roses…if anything…point one of three in this short sermon is…

We are commanded to stop and smell the roses. Continually.

I know it’s a bit of a stretch…but how can you “give thanks” if you don’t think about what you are giving thanks about? About the roses along the way?

However, as much as I think it is important we do whatever the Bible commands, doing something just because we are told is not terribly appealing, is it?

For instance, years back I realized I stopped looking at clouds. I got so caught up in life…often the miserableness of work at that point…I was missing something that I always loved as a kid.

I had stopped looking at clouds a long time before…

Clouds are beautiful. Clouds are amazing.

I should stop and look at the clouds.

And not because I am commanded to, but because…

Clouds are beautiful. Clouds are amazing.

And I feel better when I take the time to look at them.

You’ve probably seen people who go through a period where they list some number of things they are thankful for every day for a period of time. Yes, it is a gimmick.

But it works.

Stop, and look at the clouds. Stop and smell the roses.

Back to Mac Davis

Let’s go back to Mac Davis again…specifically his song, “Stop and Smell the Roses.” Another verse from it is this:

Did you ever take a walk through the forest

Stop and dream a while among the trees

Well you can look up through the leaves right straight to heaven

You can almost hear the voice of God

In each any every breeze

Might I suggest another song writer has an even better take?:

1  The heavens declare the glory of God,

and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

2  Day to day pours out speech,

and night to night reveals knowledge.

3  There is no speech, nor are there words,

whose voice is not heard.

4  Their voice goes out through all the earth,

and their words to the end of the world.

In them he has set a tent for the sun,

5  which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,

and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.

6  Its rising is from the end of the heavens,

and its circuit to the end of them,

and there is nothing hidden from its heat (Psalm 19:1-6).

I said that clouds are amazing. They are. Both visually and mechanically.

Mac Davis sings of a similar experience we can have in a forest. If we allow ourselves to have it.

King David takes it one step forward and notes that creation is so incredible, it declares the glory of God and proclaims His handiwork.

Point two of three of this sermon is…

Stop and smell the roses because they are pretty darn amazing!

And understand, I have only brought up a micro-smidgen of the incredible blessings God has given us. Everybody sitting here right now has a roof over their head, food on their table, and clothes on their back.

Those roses are worth stopping to smell, aren’t they?

And think about all the other incredible things we take for granted.

Everything from smartphones that can keep us connected and entertained…to how music can lift us so high…to the smile of a child. James 1:16-18 reminds us where all of these come from:

16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Every good gift comes from the Father of lights.

And every good gift is a rose worth stopping to smell…

What About When Life Sucks?

Of course, not all Christian lives are as ridiculously blessed as ours.

We truly take stuff for granted that others would consider an incredible extravagance.

Worse, for many of our brothers and sisters, their lives are full of constant suffering…whether from lack of having their basic needs met, persecution, or other difficult circumstances.

What rose do we have in common with them?

A rose that both they and we should stop and smell?

It was actually revealed a bit in James’ “we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”

Let’s get close to wrapping up by reviewing two more references, the first Colossians 3:2-4:

2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

And finally with Ephesians 1:3-10:

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

What rose do we have in common with every other member of Christ’s family?

Jesus!

Let’s set our minds on things that are above…versus the trials and tribulations here on earth. No matter how bad things get here, they are temporary. This is not a sci fi or horror movie where someone has the technology or magic to keep you alive so they can torture you forever.

When sin entered this world, God was kind enough to ensure our suffering had a limit. However, more importantly…

In Jesus we have redemption through his blood and when He returns we will appear with him in glory.

And spend all eternity with Him.

Not because we deserve it, but because of what He did on the cross. What Jesus wanted to do. From the foundation of the world.

Point three of three…

The greatest rose is Jesus.

  • We are commanded to stop and smell the roses. Continually.
  • Stop and smell the roses because they are pretty darn amazing!
  • The greatest rose is Jesus.

Now, I am not going to suggest you stop and smell Jesus, ’cause even though it is metaphorical…it doesn’t sound right. 🙂

But you know what I mean…and I will wrap up with the beginning of Mac Davis’ song (well, after starting with the chorus):

Hey Mister

Where you going in such a hurry

Don’t you think it’s time you realized

There’s a whole lot more to life than work and worry

The sweetest things in life are free

And there right before your eyes

Hey brother and sister, where are you going in such a hurry? Don’t you think it’s time you realized, there’s a whole lot more to life than the work and worry?

The sweetest thing in life, Jesus, is free…and there right before your eyes.

Keep your eyes upon Jesus.


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