He told them still another parable: “the kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.” Matthew 13:33 (NIV)

Jesus used parables to explain the kingdom of God. He tells a story of how a wheat field grows along with weeds until harvest time. Then he gives the example of the small mustard seed growing into a tree which can support life for many animals. Now Jesus uses yeast as an example of a living, growing, ever-expanding organism that is capable of permeating everything it touches.

In this short parable about the kingdom of heaven, Jesus tells us that a small amount of yeast is capable of causing growth in large amounts of flour. Each of these “seeds” are small, but the wheat seed is larger than a mustard seed, and each grain of yeast is the smallest of all. Each individual grain of yeast is very tiny, about 1/1000th of a millimeter. The amount of flour described is equivalent to about 26 pounds of flour and could make about forty loaves of bread. When yeast is mixed completely with warm water, flour, and sugar, it begins to feed and grow, and produces carbon dioxide. If given enough time, it causes the dough to double in size. Once the yeast is mixed into the dough, it is no longer visible, but its action is quite impressive.

The kingdom of heaven is similar both in our lives and in the world around us. Once the Holy Spirit is invited into our lives, he begins transforming our hearts, influencing our thoughts, our motivations, and our actions. At first it may be difficult to see changes in our lives. But as we continue to read and study the Bible, as we pray and talk to God, as we serve and minister to and for others, the changes in our lives become more evident. We certainly have seasons in our lives when it seems that no spiritual growth is happening. Be patient; give God time and space to grow your heart into the person he wants you to be. Yeast does not work instantly; it takes time, food, and space to grow into bread that can nourish us. So too does spiritual growth, and the growth of the kingdom of heaven. “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it,” Isaiah 55:11.

By Grace Hunter

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