What can mustard seeds and leaven teach us about the kingdom of God?


The Gospel reading speaks of the explosive nature of the Kingdom of heaven. What is it like? It is like a very small seed that, if sowed in the field, becomes a large bush, large enough for the birds of the sky to come and dwell in its branches. It is like yeast. You only need a small amount mixed in with the wheat flour to leaven the whole batch.

A mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds, but it produces one of the largest “trees” capable of sheltering birds and providing food for many. We can be that mustard seed, if we allow Jesus to plant the Holy Spirit in our lives. If we are led by the Holy Spirit we can affect other lives and help to spread the love of Jesus to more and more. The same idea is true of the leaven in bread, or yeast. God’s kingdom works in a similar fashion. It starts from the smallest beginnings in the hearts of men and women who are receptive to God’s word.  And it works unseen and causes a transformation from within. Leaven is another powerful agent of change. A lump of dough left to itself remains just what it is, a lump of dough. But when the leaven is added to it a transformation takes place which produces rich and wholesome bread when heated – the staple of life for humans. The kingdom of God produces a transformation in those who receive the new life which Jesus Christ offers. When we yield our lives to Jesus Christ and allow His word to take root in our heart, we are transformed and made holy by the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.

His kingdom on earth for instance, (which is our Church), started out like a tiny mustard seed (just a few apostles), but is now like a great tree, home for many birds in its branches — various Christian denominations, all children of the One True God. Our Church has also been like a yeast, mixed in with so much flour — the millions of unbelievers among us, who would never have risen above their apathy or faithless state, had they not been transformed by the Gospel values of Jesus Christ. The Kingdom of heaven may at times seem small, insignificant, even hidden. But a little bit of it changes the world. If we allow the Word of God to grow in our souls, the effects are insurmountable. If we cling to God just as He desires we do, and take even just a little bit of time every day for Him, great things can grow in and through us.

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