Burritos and Evangelism

I preached at Greenfield Presbyterian Church yesterday, and I used this illustration at one point.

p117831-boulder-illegal_petesWhile in college in Boulder, Eileen and I both frequented a burrito place called Illegal Pete’s.  The burritos there are delicious.  Even thinking of it now is making my mouth water.  Beans, rice, sour cream, hot salsa, chicken, guacamole, peppers.  Pure savory goodness.  (For Pittsburghers reading this, think of Chipotle, but with the ingredients mixed up and much, much more flavor.)  So, while in Boulder last Tuesday, Eileen and I were quick to take Mike (who’s listened us pine for Pete’s burritos as long as he’s known us) to Pete’s.  He enjoyed it and we were pleased.  We had successfully shared with Mike the good news of Pete’s burritos.

Contrast that with the experience I had settling into my seat on the airplane home:  All I wanted to do was sit and read.  I was tired, frustrated, and just wanted to hide in a book, deliberately ignoring the strangers sitting around me.  Of course, I knew that there were probably people around me who didn’t have a living relationship with Christ, but that didn’t make me eager to strike up conversations.  And then the convicting thought came: why am I more eager to share with friends the good news of a burrito than the good news of the Kingdom of God?

Yes, there are differences between the two situations – most importantly the fact that Eileen and I developed a close relationship with Mike before sharing with him the goodness of a Pete’s burrito.  This was relational-burrito-evangelism.   But still, even in the context of good friendships, how often do we rush to tell friends about our favorite restaurant, book, or musical artist, but shrink away from sharing the much greater news of the Gospel?  Why is it easier to tell someone about a burrito than about Jesus?

  1. mikegehrling said:

    I greatly appreciate you sharing with me the goodness of Pete’s burritos. I’m soundly converted and know that Illegal Pete’s has the best burritos ever. I’m pining for the day when I’ll sit in Pete’s again and taste and see that Illegal Pete’s burritos are good. Until then, I have an Illegal Pete’s sticker on my laptop, as a sign and seal of that day which is to come.

    Thank you also for waiting until our friendship had developed before sharing with me about Illegal Pete’s. If you hadn’t developed that sense of trust, I would have been greatly offended, and told you that Illegal Pete’s is just one way to a good burrito among many other ways.


  2. Allen Thompson said:

    Good call. We are eager to share the things that will establish relationship and build community with other people, but because truth and religious beliefs are so often assigned to the category of “personal values,” it’s not even on our radar to share them.

    I too ate at Illegal Pete’s, but because I was about to board a plane, I was not ready for the meat of a burrito. I instead chose the milk of fish tacos. I fall back on I Peter 2 rather than Hebrews 5 for an apologetic.

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