Choosing Jesus Daily Adds Up, Do The Math
I joined a community group with church for this spring term. Our group is “potlucks & parables” — you see why my alliteration-loving self was immediately drawn to these people. As we munch on different food each week, we read and discuss a new parable.
Last week, we read the parable of the mustard seed and the parable of the leaven. Combined, these parables take up a whole four verses to get the point across.
Easy peasy, right? What could possibly rock your world in four simple verses — two if we’re just talking bread!?
While I have read both of these parables multiple times before, here I am, days later, thinking about the story and significance of the parable of the leaven.
Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to?
It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.”
Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like leaven that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” Luke 13:18-21
In order for bread to rise into that fluffy, carby goodness we all know and love, it needs leaven (in current terms, yeast). Without the leaven, your bread will be nothing but stale crackers.
Put yourself in the situation as the bread dough. What you “put in” your life directly affects how you “rise.” You need Jesus (your leaven) to rise properly. You need that faith and trust that while you may just seem like a pile of flour and egg, He has a perfect plan for you — a life glorifying to the Father.
This leaven process takes time. Consider grandma’s cinnamon rolls. In order to gain beautiful little clouds of goodness, you must work! There is yeast that requires activation, as well as two separate “let it rise” instructions. You can’t just snap your fingers and have the process complete — the hardest, but most important part is patience.
As human beings living in the technology age, we’re all about instant gratification. I want to share what I’m doing right now. I want to know what happens in the next episode right now. I want to have my life mapped out far past the 10 year plan and be able to answer any questions that come my way.
If you have not yet figured it out, it is rarely that “snap of the fingers” easy. We are not privy to our next 10 years — we are not privy to the happenings of tomorrow! But good news — we know who is. And He’s a heck of a lot better at these things than we could ever be.
Our leaven is our faith.
I’m reading a book titled The Man Who Ate Everything. It’s a quirky little cook book/travelogue/memoir/food story that I quite enjoy, even though I am not entirely sure what the point is. In this book, there is a chapter all about growing yeast. The author experiments with growing his own yeast; each yeast he creates all looks the same when it goes into his bread, but the results differ drastically. He has to wait until the bread is fully baked to evaluate his yeast’s success.
I think we can also relate this to the parable. In the days of Jesus’ teaching, pharisees often questioned what he said — they still were the “righteous” religious leaders, as far as the common eye was concerned. But what if you only “leavened” your life with their imperfect teachings? It may have looked like normal yeast when mixed with your bread dough, but it would have shown how inadequate it was when your baked bread tasted sour.
What you put in your life matters. You can’t just wing this one. You don’t get good bread without yeast. You don’t get good bread with sour, acidic, of bitter yeast. You get good bread (glorifying bread!) with good yeast.
Friends, here’s the deal. We can’t just go about mixing bad yeast and good yeast than no yeast at all. What kind of bakery would that be? We need to choose Jesus daily. It may not seem that important today, but I guarantee it makes a difference.