Do you know why God made rutabagas? Yeah, I said rutabagas God uses everything, even rutabagas to make his presence known.
I want to talk to you about a story about rutabagas. A friend of mine has a food ministry. She started this ministry during the COVID pandemic to support families who were struggling. The location of the ministry is not in an under-resourced area. In fact, many would say that it’s moderately affluent however people were really struggling to put food on their table.
My friend collects food from grocery stores, farms and other places. Rescue food. It’s the industry name for food at or past sell by date but could be consumed. They carefully check everything out though because some are not in good condition. There was one time she told me someone asked her if she would take 40 gallons of milk. She said sure, and ended up with 40 crates of have milk and dozens of eggs. God blessed her and she was able to share those with people.
One of the stores where she picks up rescue food gave her a bushel basket of rutabagas. Rutabagas! Yes you heard me right, a bushel of rutabagas! Well, I don’t know if you’re familiar with rutabagas but they are a vegetable. They just never showed up on my table when I was growing up nor since. So I am not familiar with that vegetable. And there may be a reason why there was an entire basket available because maybe others were not familiar to with that.
“Oh God, what am I supposed to do with these? Surely, someone would want them?”
On giveaway days, the pantry is set up like a grocery store. Customers shop for the foods that they want. A few giveaway days had taken place and the rutabagas had not been selected. They were close to being repurposed.
As my friend gathered her volunteers for the next giveaway day, one of the volunteers brought their spouse with them. He proclaimed myself to be a great salesperson. You know what assignment was? Find, someone to take the rutabagas. They were on their last leg and they were going to go.
The giveaway began and the great salesman began working the crowd. How would you like a rutabaga? He asked. He did not get any takers. The rejection did not faze him. He just continued weaving through the crowd, seeking the new owners of his goods.
Meanwhile, my friend notices a volunteer off to the side, consoling and praying for a woman who is crying profusely. “My mother died and I miss her so much. She had been sick and could not get the help she needed.” The volunteer continues to pray and console her.
The great salesman approaches her and asks how would you like a rutabaga? The woman stops, turns and looks at him. The great salesman repeats himself thinking either she didn’t understand or did not speak English. “How would you like a rutabaga?” She stares at him so he tries for a third time. “Would you like a rutabaga?”
“What did you say?” Her tears stop. She smiles. “My mother’s final words to me when I asked, ”How will I know you are with me? She said, “if someone offers you a rutabaga, you will know I am there.”
Wow. Think about that. Think about all the people that God used in this story. Not only was the woman overwhelmed and blessed; the man had no idea he was being used by God. Even though my friend was obedient in picking up the rutabagas, although she had no idea in the world, how she was going to get rid of those rutabagas.
So my message to you is that you just never know how God is going to use you. And in the most unusual ways, you have no idea. And don’t ever think God won’t use you. He will. And he will have you touch people in a way that like, in a way that only you can do. I know this. Every morning, I asked God to use me to reach out and touch others in his name. And every day happens. Try it works.