Anyone that knows me, knows that I love tacos. My favorites are carne asada and fish tacos. I love tacos with not a whole bunch of toppings, just cilantro, onion, guacamole and of course salsa. Simple but delicious. They taste even better if the tortillas are made from scratch. I recently told my wife, “After 25 years of marriage, I think I love you more than tacos.” She was very happy because she knows how much I love tacos.
Jesus said in John 13:35 “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (NIV). This is an interesting concept. Jesus says that people (outside of the church) will know that we (the church) are followers of Jesus if we love each other. Wow! In other words, people will know that we, the church, are following Jesus based on how we treat each other.
When I think of this Bible verse, It reminds me that people are like tacos. Let me explain:
THE COLD TACO – There is nothing worse for my taco addiction–I mean, my love for tacos–than a cold taco. The taste is the same but it’s cold and no one likes a cold taco. Some people are cold. They come to church week after week but hardly talk to anyone and they leave as soon as the church service is over. You say hello and they respond with a nod and maybe a “Happy Sabbath.”
THE HOT TACO – This is the taco that you bite into and it burns your mouth because the meat or the tortilla is too hot. You need to give it a few moments to cool down. These people in the church seem to be angry at everyone and everything. They seem to be “hot” all the time. They have a “hot” temper.
THE WORLD’S BEST TACO – You have probably seen this on a menu or in a restaurant ad somewhere. Many claim to have the best taco in the world. Some people in the church act like they are better than everyone else.
THE SPICY TACO – Some tacos are extra spicy and they burn your mouth and make you sweat when you eat them. In all honesty, they are unpleasant to eat. These are like the people in the church that are just unpleasant to be around. Maybe they gossip or just criticize everyone and everything.
THE BLAND TACO – This is the hardest taco to eat for me because it simply has little to no flavor whatsoever. I have eaten my share of bland tacos in my lifetime. Some people in the church are there as “pew warmers”. They don’t connect with anyone, they don’t support anything the church does and don’t want to commit. They attend church but are not engaged in any of the church activities.
THE GENUINE TACO – This is my preferred taco. The tortilla is just warm enough, the salsa is not too hot, the guacamole is flavorful, it has just the right amount of cilantro and onions and the meat is tender and juicy. It is exactly what a taco should be. It is authentic. It is the “real deal”. Most of the time you can only get these tacos in a “hole-in-the-wall” type restaurant or from a taco stand on the street. Nothing fancy or trendy–just a simple and unsophisticated place. In the church, these are the people that are real and transparent. They are humble. They truly love people. These individuals are not flashy. They simply love Jesus and people. They are not difficult to spot and not easily forgotten. They are the real deal.
When it comes to tacos I have my favorites and my preferences. But I will not turn away any tacos. I am always ready to grub on some tacos. Why? Because I love tacos. I think I need to do the same with the people in the church. Jesus calls me to love all people. This means ALL people–even the people that are not easy to love. I may have my favorite kinds of people. I may have a preference in regards to what kind of people I hang out with, but Jesus calls me to love all people.
When we truly love each other, we connect with each other and we begin to develop relationships. We begin to learn about each other and many times we begin to understand why we act the way we do. Jesus knew what he was talking about. So let’s decide to love each other!
–Manny Cruz, Youth & Children’s Ministries Director, Arizona Conference
From the January 2020 edition of Pacific Union Recorder
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