3/16/2020 – The Parable of the Leaven
Passage: Luke 13:20-21 and Matthew 13:33-34
Written By: Allison Erby – Undergrad
Last summer, I baked bread! The real-life Pam Beesly was going through a sourdough-baking phase on her Instagram, so obviously, I had to as well! There are four core ingredients in sourdough: yeast, flour, water, salt, and time. These verses use the fermentation process to illustrate the kingdom of heaven.
Can you think of how fermentation compares to the kingdom of heaven?
The first point sticking out to me is that all I did was mix the ingredients and set it by the kitchen window to rise. The starter and dough were independent – the most developing occurred when I was not touching it. Like the kingdom, this bread does not need our help. In the scripture, it is Jesus wracking his divine/human brain to find ways to describe the kingdom to the crowds. My Bible’s footnotes say, “In spite of our calls to work for the Kingdom of God, the kingdom is ultimately God’s creation, which depends no more on our efforts than to do the processes of seed germination (the parable of the mustard seed is just previous to these verses) or the process of yeast fermentation.” However, God created you with spiritual gifts! This means that though you are not needed, you are wanted. You were created with unique talents which God chose for you because you are His child – not because your only purpose is to complete tasks for the kingdom.
Does this change how you feel concerning what mission God is calling you to?
My second point revolves around the intentionality of Jesus’ teachings. Do you remember who Jesus describes is putting the yeast, flour, and water together? She is a woman. While I am very uplifted by seeing positive female involvement in the Bible, that is not my point. The position of a woman in the time Jesus is speaking is not much more than a familial commodity, placed low in social ranking. These are the people who are used by Jesus! Think of your top three favorite teaching moments of Jesus using someone he has just met. They are probably the least of these, the last being exalted to first, or the dirty being made new! How intentional of Jesus to take time, shown in both Matthew and Luke, to lift up a group considered to be low.
Have you ever felt like you were too low to be used by God?
Not only are you wanted by Jesus, but also you are so loved that if you hit a low, you still cannot escape. There is no number of skipped daily devotionals, outbursts of anger, gossip conversations, lustful thoughts, or missed ministry opportunities that can separate a repentant heart from God’s will.
God, I praise You for sending Jesus with messages to portray Your heart in ways I can understand. Thank You for the spiritual talents You have blessed me with and for Your unconditional love. I pray that this glimpse into the powerful and independent Kingdom will sustain my awe for You throughout this Lent season and always, Amen.