It's said that Super Bowl Sunday is second only to Thanksgiving in food consumption on a single day of the year. Forget the turkey this go around; the most popular menu items are pizza, wings, and chips and dip. It's the dip that caught my attention this year when I was asked to help promote my store's sales of a popular brand of guacamole and salsa.
For two days I found myself standing beside the display, catching the eye of shoppers nearby, and offering them a taste of guacamole on a tortilla chip or two. I found it to be delightful duty – paid to purposely chat with the many customers I've become friends with over the years, make a few new ones, and offer everybody who happened by a chance to fall in love with my favorite dip.
People are passionate about guacamole – they either love it or hate it, there's no middle ground. Having grown up in California, which produces 90 percent of the fresh avocados consumed in the United States, I've been eating the fruit almost since birth. Guacamole is simply avocado in another form, and makes everything I put it on taste even better. I've been a huge fan for years.
Other people, not so much. I giggled repeatedly at the ones who took one look and shuddered as they hurried by; those who simply couldn't imagine putting something that green and squishy in their mouths, let alone swallowing it down and enjoying the experience! Others told me they had always wanted to try it and never had an opportunity. I quickly handed them a sample in a cup and then watched their faces eagerly, trying to gauge their reaction. Some just shook their heads, dropped the cup in the wastebasket and moved on. But the eyes of many others widened in surprise at how good it was, their hands quickly reaching for the guacamole in the display case...and the chips and salsa offered beside it, as well!
The promotion was a success for a couple of reasons. The place was packed with people shopping for food to eat at their football parties, many of whom weren't necessarily looking for guacamole. But the display was placed right in their path as they entered the produce department at the front of the store. They had no choice but to pass by. I merely took advantage of the opportunity to speak to them and offer them a taste of something good.
God simply asks us to do the same. Of the many people we meet in our comings and goings each day, very few of them may be thinking about a relationship with their Creator as they're headed our way. But God has us strategically placed so that our lives intersect with a purpose; so-called “chance” meetings simply do not exist. And all He asks is that we give them the opportunity to sample something they may never have tried before. So much more than mere party food that is enjoyed for a time and then forgotten, a relationship with God has the potential to change their lives for the better forever.
Many of the people who tried the guacamole for the first time did so on the basis of their relationship with me. I've talked and laughed with them for years as they've come through my checkout line; if now I was promoting guacamole, they'd stop and at least listen to what I had to say. We gain people's ears for God the same way, often based on a relationship that's been built over time.
Some noted my passion for the product I was offering; because I love and eat it myself, it was easy for me to talk favorably about it from my own experience. Likewise my own relationship with God is its best selling point – if I am excited about His presence in my life and the positive changes that have come as a result, I am able to talk about it in a way that leads others to want some of the same.
I met a lot of people who looked at the product I stood beside with disdain, telling me that they made their own guacamole and believed it to be the best. Others had sampled some once and didn't like it. Yet they were willing to give my product a taste, just to see how it compared. Likewise many people are satisfied with their own vision of God, or use a past church experience of their own to judge what a relationship with Him is all about. Many want nothing to do with anything more. And yet if God can just catch their eye somehow through something I say or do, they might be willing to open the door to their hearts and explore a little more.
Many people thought I was offering a mix rather than a ready-to-serve product, and likewise an amazing number of people believe that getting to God is a long and arduous process that takes more time and effort than they're willing to devote to it. They are pleasantly surprised to find that beginning a relationship with Him is as easy as peeling the top off a package and simply digging in to the good stuff inside.
Midway through the two-day event a supervisor happened to mention to me that there was a contest between the stores in our district involving sales of this particular product, encouraging me to do all I could to add to our store's total. It was worth the extra effort I subsequently put forth to later hear my store manager thank me for doing a great job. How much greater is the incentive to work hard for the Kingdom in the days we have left than to hear our Master say at the end of our days, “Well done!”
“Taste and see that the Lord is good...”
(Psalm 34:8 NIV)