Mustard and Bread

31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”

33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds[a] of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

34 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. 35 So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:

“I will open my mouth in parables,
    I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”

Matthew 13:31-35 (NIV)

In my opinion, the smell of fresh baked bread makes a house seem like a home. The difference between a house and a home is that a house is a structure, a dwelling place, while a home is about a feeling you have when you are within the structure. Feelings of warmth, protection, acceptance, and love are the basis for a home. I am fortunate that in my house bread is made weekly and as I smell the bread baking, those feelings are brought to the surface.

Jesus is trying to give insight into the Kingdom of God using comparisons which will invoke feelings. The first is using a mustard seed. The tiny seed is planted and grows to becomea shelter and roasting place for birds. The image of a house comes to my mind. There also is a reminder that the kingdom starts small and grows into a larger reality which provides protection and rest. Jesus’s second comparison is using dough and how yeast is worked throughout the dough which is necessary for the dough to rise to become bread. Here we see the clear implication that the kingdom permeates every aspect of life and the world around us.

You probably understand why the images of bread and home entered my mind as I read this passage. I like the idea that the kingdom provides a safe place for me to receive shelter and rest. I also like the realization that I am the recipient and participant in something which began small but now offers a safe haven for everyone.

The reality that God’s kingdom is in the midst of everything reminds me that there is nowhere I can go that the kingdom is not present. It challenges me to strive to find the kingdom in the most unlikely places. I also find comfort in knowing the kingdom is in me even as I am in the kingdom.

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