Every person carries an atmosphere with them. Many call it an attitude, but I like to call it an atmosphere because it invades the room when they arrive and it departs when they depart. Some people's atmospheres are more pronounced than other peoples, but nonetheless, everyone carries an atmosphere with them and people adjust to your atmosphere or they resist your atmosphere. An atmosphere is invisible but noticeable. People do not walk in the room with a sign on their chest that says angry, wounded, cynical, sassy or some other label, but the atmosphere they carry speaks of what they carry.
Not only do individuals carry an atmosphere, but marriages, families, communities, churches, companies and even countries carry an atmosphere. Atmospheres are experienced by others even if they are not recognized by the one carrying it. Many have wondered why an omnipresent God does not move in all churches in the same way.
Some have asked how revival and the power of God can break out in one church but not in the other church down the street? Or how can healings happen in that man or woman's ministry but not in the other man or woman's ministry? It is because of the atmosphere that people create when they walk into a room.
If you are the leader of any given space, you set the atmosphere for that space. Leaders of churches set the atmosphere of their church; executives of companies set the atmosphere of their business; moms and dads set the atmosphere of their home. When people walk into a place where you are the leader, they can sense the atmosphere of the place, and they adjust accordingly to the created atmosphere.
The analogy of a thermostat versus a thermometer has been used in a variety of settings as it pertains to this thought. Some people are like thermometers (they take the temperature of the room), while others are like thermostats (they set the temperature of a room). I would propose that leaders are thermostats and that they set the temperature of the room whether they are in a titled leadership position in that room or not, because lovers have a fragrance.
In Luke 7:36-50 it says: "One of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. So He went to the Pharisee's house and sat down for supper. There, a woman of the city who was a sinner, when she learned that Jesus was sitting for supper in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment, and stood behind Him at His feet, weeping, and began to wash His feet with tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed His feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw it, he said to himself, 'If this Man were a prophet, He would have known who and what kind of woman she is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.' Jesus answered him, 'Simon, I have something to say to you.' He said, 'Teacher, say it.' 'A creditor had two debtors. The one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they had no money to pay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?' Simon answered, 'I suppose he whom he forgave more.' He said to him, 'You have judged rightly.'
"Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, 'Do you see this woman? I entered your house. You gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with ointment. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little loves little.' Then He said to her, 'Your sins are forgiven.'
"Those who sat at supper with Him began to say to themselves, 'Who is He who even forgives sins?' He said to the woman, 'Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.'"
In a room full of religious leaders who carried titles far greater than her own, a woman unidentified by name but identified by behavior enters the room and changes the atmosphere with the fragrance of love. What I noticed about this woman is that she was prepared for her meeting with Jesus: She came with perfume, very expensive perfume. This woman was courageous; she followed Jesus into a Pharisee's house and did not care what atmosphere was in the room when she entered.
She was coming with a love that would change the fragrance of the whole room. As she knelt down, in her regalia that identified her as a sinful woman, you can almost hear the crowd gasp, wondering what she is going to do. Can you imagine yourself as a Pharisee, watching this Rabbi, named Jesus, come into this house with this questionable woman, and now she is getting on her knees, behind him. What is she about to do? Is she about to do it in front of all of us, whatever the "it" may be? The room was stunned, shocked, holding its breath, you could feel it in the atmosphere, people were not sure of what was going on, and Jesus, He was completely at peace the whole time, not moved by what was going on around Him.
Then she opens the jar of perfume, the aroma fills the room, it smells so good, even the hardest heart cannot resist the smell of it, for it was not just a really expensive perfume that filled the atmosphere, it was the behavior of a lover that was leading the way. With all eyes on her, she wets Jesus' feet with her tears, she then takes her long hair and wipes his feet, not in hurry, in a way that expresses gratitude, love, kindness. The fierce love of Jesus melted the hardness of this broken woman's heart, and she began to respond with weeping, wetting and wiping of his feet. Can you picture it?
So often we read the Bible as though it is a dry history book, rather than a love story, an actual account of someone who did the unthinkable in a time in history that she never knew others thousands of years later would read about. She was leading like a lover, she was responding like a lover, she was creating an atmosphere that only a lover can create.
Now with His feet washed, she lifts the jar of perfume—which was filling the room with its smell in a very subtle way—and she begins to pour it out liberally on His feet. She thought nothing of cost and she never considered it a waste. She only had one goal in mind, and that was to pour it all out on the feet of this man who emanated fierce love.
She knew who she was, she knew her past better than all her accusers, but lovers don't take notice of cost; they only take notice of the object of their affection. Now the room is filled with the smell of this perfume, the whole atmosphere has been changed by the love of this sinful woman for Jesus. The Pharisee's can't handle this much intimacy, so they begin to question who this woman was to Jesus and why a "man of God" would allow such a woman to do such a thing to Him. The atmosphere of the room was changed by love, and no one could deny it.
Whether by actions or attitudes, lovers who are leaders, titled or not, change the atmosphere of every room they enter. For love smells like something, and we were created to be lovers, so we can smell it when it is there, we can see it when it arrives and we can hear it when it speaks. The fragrance of love filled the house of some Pharisees, and the words of love changed a sinful woman's life forever. You don't have to have a title or even be welcomed into a place to change the atmosphere if you lead like a lover.
Lisa Great is an author, speaker and blogger with Mouthpiece Ministries International. She has been in ministry for over 25 years, she has a BA in Youth and Family Studies, a MA in Education. She can be reached at mouthpieceministries.net;
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