We talked the same music/weather/work schedules as we sat down for early diner. Normal starter conversation for a weekly bible study meeting. It was the first time we met at this diner. But the artisan burgers were voted “Best in the City”. We had to try it.

Then the food came and the conversation turned. As we stared at medium-rare organic burgers/Kennebec frites/homemade ketchup on a stainless steal plate, my friend said, “I can tell from the smell and look of this burger that they grind their own meat here. This is going to be great!”

He was right. It was.

By the end of the bible study we started talking about God’s love. He said, “I always thought that God’s love of me depended on how good or bad I was. The whole idea that God pursues me with a relentless love – that God cares that much – I never realized that before. That’s new.”

This is where the “chuck-beef-burger-as-spiritual-metaphor” came in. We talked about how there was a difference between smelling the burger/seeing the juiciness of the burger and actually tasting/eating the whole the burger. Two different experiences. One gave great anticipation of good things to come, the other the experience of tasty hipster foodie satisfaction. Or something like that.

That’s a lot like the difference between living with the incomplete hope of God’s love based on if we had a good day or not versus knowing Jesus lives in your soul to continually pour God’s love and forgiveness into your heart every day. Who wouldn’t want to be that full? The bible says Jesus is the “propitiation for our sins” that we might “live through him” [1 John 4:9,10]. Jesus isn’t primarily an example of “servant of love” or a “teacher of God’s love”. That’s “smelling Jesus from afar”. Knowing him is like consuming the most fulfilling crafted burger. He is the one we “spiritually savor” as we confess him as Lord and Savior and are changed to be more like him as we obey God’s commands to love. Anything else is just a Big Mac.