I love church potlucks, but someone needs to lay down some official “potluck rules.” I think there have been times in the past that I’ve jeopardized my soul by lying during church potlucks. How do you lie at church potlucks you ask? When women look at my plate and ask, “Why didn’t you get any of my beets today?” And I have no choice but to answer something along the lines of, “Oh, I didn’t see them,” or “My plate was too full and I didn’t have any room for them.” You can’t hurt a woman’s feelings and tell her that you’d rather poke yourself in the eye with a stick, than eat a nasty beet that she’s fixed.
Honesty I’m a good eater and I like nearly everything. In fact, I’m not even a picky eater when it comes to food, but besides beets, sweet potatoes are another thing in my book that shouldn’t be consumed by humans.
As the Lord would have it, He placed Mrs. Sweet-Potato smack dab in the middle of my congregation. She was one of the sweetest little old ladies that God had ever created, and did she ever put me to the test. She made sweet potatoes for every potluck meeting. Every single one! It wasn’t enough for her to just ask, “Did you get any of my sweet potatoes today?” She’d actually place them on my plate. Yes, she’d wait until I got in line, then she’d get her bowl of vile orange goo, and she’d place a big glob of sweet potatoes on my plate.
The first few times this happened I was able to cover the sweet potatoes up with something else, then I didn’t have to look at them or eat them. That was something I learned as a kid when we had turnips (another story, another time). Everything was okay with the “cover up” plan, until the potluck Sunday that she placed a big spoonful on my plate and handed me a fork and said, “Taste these, you’re going to love these.” She stood there waiting. Right then everything just stopped and went into slow motion. She was watching and waiting for me to take a bite, and I was searching for a way out of it. Holding my plate in one hand and my fork in the other, I thought to myself, “”This would be the perfect time to hear someone scream,” “MY HUSBAND IS CHOKING, SOMEONE DO SOMETHING!”” But there was no way out of this, I was going to have to take a bite.
As she watched, I took my fork, placed a small amount of sweet potatoes on it and shoved it into my mouth. At that point I was wondering if God knew that He was testing me a little more than I could bear. I quickly swallowed and simply said, “Mmmm,” with a smile on my face. That was good enough for Mrs. Sweet-Potato. She smiled and went back to her table and ate.
There was no avoiding this little lady that God had placed in my life, so for the next few months we replayed the same scene over and over. She’d place sweet potatoes on my plate and stand there until I tasted, smiled and said, “Mmmm.” A simple smile and a “Mmmm,” was always sufficient for her. Not once did she ever say, “Do you like them?” or “Are they delicious?” So I never felt like I was dishonest.
For the longest time I thought God and this woman had it out for me. But it didn’t take me long to realize she was simply a sweet and precious little old lady who wanted to know she was still a good cook.
Do we still need some church potluck rules so I don’t have to eat things like sweet potatoes and beets? Heck yeah!