Tails From the Kingdom of Heaven: a Mustard Seed and some Yeast

This is a post from my other blog from a discussion group we were a part of on June 11, 2005:

Last night we continued our series of discussions on the illustrations and stories that Jesus used to explain to the people of His time what the leadership of God is like. Many of these stories begin with the phrase; “the kingdom of Heaven is like,” which gives us the title for our series.Last night we discussed Matthew 13:31 – 33. Here Jesus gives two similar illustrations of things that start very small, but end up with much larger results. The first is a mustard seed, which is a very small seed but potentially could grow to be several feet high over time. The second is yeast, which when just a small amount is put in a large lump of bread dough has the effect of permeating and changing the nature of the dough.The first illustration shows structural growth. The people of Jesus’ time were looking for a powerful military or political leader to help them throw off their oppressors and rebuild their lost greatness as a nation. He showed that what God was going to initiate in the world would start out small and unimpressive, but it would have great results in the end. So often today, we look for movements that are big to identify with. Yet, what God may be doing in a particular place and time may seem to be unimpressive at first. It just may take some time to grow.The second illustration shows transformation. This is a little harder to measure and to accomplish. As we allow God’s leadership to take control in our lives, it should have a transforming affect. As it transforms us and as we gather together with others who are being transformed in a community of faith, we should have a transforming effect on the environment around us. The change on both levels may take time, but we need to trust God that He is bringing it about.One of our participants said that sometimes he feels like the yeast (influencing others for the Kingdom of God) and sometimes he feels like the bread dough (needing to be influenced). We agreed that each of us needs that in different ways at times. As we spent time reflecting on what we discussed, we focussed on the question, “In what ways do I need the Kingdom of Heaven to influence and transform my life?”

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