Smell the Roses, But Don’t Get Stuck by the Thorns

Often I see someone posting something to the effect of enjoy the journey, take time to smell the roses, or whatever other saying that indicates we should not just go from A to B, but check out all that we pass along the way.

If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

And you know what? I don’t necessarily disagree.

However, when it comes to a spiritual journey, specifically one going from worldly desires to a godlier lifestyle, you might find that when you stop to smell the roses you end up getting pricked by its thorns.

Life in the world is one which we must travel. Shaul, that nice Jewish tent maker from Tarsus, once wrote to the people in his kehillah in Corinth, telling them that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize, so they should run in such a way that they may obtain it (1 Corinthians 9:24).

In other words, know where you are going and make sure that is the goal you seek. Do not be turned away by worldly desires and attractions.

The rose is a beautiful flower, with a lovely aroma, but grabbing it will result in pain if you aren’t very careful.

Seeking God takes discipline- not just to reject worldly and hedonistic temptations, but to study God’s word, to reject sin and seek righteousness, and to follow what God says and not what some human being tells you God says, which is what religions do.

Remember: God has no religion!

God gave instructions telling us how to worship him and how to treat each other: he gave them to the Israelites through Moses, and told Moses that the Jewish people are to be God’s own nation of priests (Exodus 19:5-6), meaning they must learn God’s instructions and then teach them to the world.

That’s what priests do- they teach the people how to live in accordance with the way God wants us to live.

Way before God gave us the Torah, he told Abraham that his descendants would be a blessing to the world (Genesis 22:18) and in Deuteronomy 28, God promises that when we do as he says, we will receive blessings.

Nu? Can you now see how it all fits together?

The descendants of Abraham (the Jewish people) are God’s priests who received the Torah to teach everyone how to worship and live so that God can bless them.

So smell the roses, since we can’t help but live in a world that has roses, but always remember that the roses are not the destination, and grabbing hold of them will result in pain.

When it comes down to it, the destination, which is eternal joy in God’s presence, is so much better than any old rose.

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And I always welcome your comments.

That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!


  1. Steven R. Bruck
    Karen July 26, 2022 at 11:10

    I usually just read your messages, but today you struck my heart. Stopping to smell the roses can bring pain. It’s a message I need to remember.
    I have a friend, a nice Southern Baptist, who truly lives the rule of her church. She is an evangelist to anyone who listens. To her this is the rose of her life. Often her message becomes thorny (especially at dinner). I don’t mind a good discussion on religion if you can get your opinion in. If you can do pro/con of Catholicism vs Episcopal Rite services. Old Testament vs New Testament (although I admit I’m not too school’d in either).
    What I find the thorn is: people who hold their rose , & despite the thorns don’t listen to anyone else’s opinion.
    We need to reach out an help pull the thorns from each other’s hearts.

    • Steven R. Bruck
      Steven R. Bruck July 28, 2022 at 07:31

      Thank you for your input, which is very useful and edifying.
      I think you are touching on one of the messages in Kohelet (Ecclesiastes), which is (to paraphrase) that there is a time for everything, and everything has its time.
      Too often people who evangelize use the excuse that they are “just dropping seeds for the Lord to germinate and grow”, which is OK when the people want to, or at least are willing to, listen. But, when the ground (people) refuses the seed, then it is time to stop throwing pearls before swine and move on to more fertile ground.
      Some people like to say spreading the word is what they are called to do, but they sometimes end up just dong what they want to do.
      If your audience doesn’t want to hear what you have to say, keep it for those who do. The word of God is too valuable a thing to just throw in the air and hope it lands somewhere fertile.

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