Every person carries and atmosphere with them, we 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 atmosphere is 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, 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 can revival and the power of God break out in that church but not the one down the street? Or how can healings happen in that man or woman’s ministry but not in someone else’s? 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, “When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little. “Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven. “The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Jesus 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, an unidentified woman by name, but an identified woman 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 this house of Pharisee’s 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, that was filling the room with its smell in a very subtle way and she begins to pour it out, liberally, upon His feet. She thought nothing of cost, 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 with 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 it is actions or attitudes, lovers that 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.