Always Working

yeast

Matthew 13:33 “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.”

Sometimes things don’t look good for the Christian Church today.

We are all familiar with statistics that tell us society is becoming more and more ungodly–no need to repeat the litany of gloom here. Christian denominations are declining in membership. Cults and false religions of various kinds grow like weeds.

Are we losing the battle? Sometimes we may think so. But Jesus’ parable of the yeast assures us that that is not the case.

God’s kingdom works like yeast. Years ago our family received a bread maker as a gift. For a time, fresh home-made bread was a regular part of our diet.

Yeast was not the largest ingredient that went into the machine before we made our bread. In fact, it is one of the smallest ingredients. Yet, without it, our bread-maker would have been a brick-maker.

Even a little yeast has the ability to influence and change much larger amounts of flour, water and oil that surround it. It spreads and infiltrates and permeates until everything has been changed. The dough rises, the bread is soft, and we enjoy a nourishing treat.

Jesus says that God’s kingdom works like that yeast. As it works in this world, it may not be the biggest “ingredient.” There have always been more unbelievers than believers. Outwardly the Christian Church may look rather small and weak.

But our Savior’s kingdom is always at work. Its influence is always being felt. The Gospel message spreads that kingdom throughout the world. Its promise of God’s love and forgiveness captures one heart after another. It changes those same hearts. It moves them to spread the message along to others.

Hearts captured by the gospel make the presence of God’s Kingdom known in other ways. They love the people around them. They love each other. They show kindness to their neighbors. They do what they can to ease the suffering of others. They defend, protect, and support those less fortunate than themselves. In love they may do so even for those more fortunate than themselves.

Not everyone touched by such love will listen to the gospel and be saved. But even in such cases, God’s Kingdom has made its presence known. Like the yeast which spreads throughout the whole lump of dough, God’s kingdom has changed things. And where the Gospel has been at work, we trust that at least some will be joining God’s Kingdom, too.

Jesus does not intend this “kingdom of heaven” to bring about a heaven on earth. Sometimes churches give up the message of forgiveness which leads to the real heaven and eternal life. In its place they substitute a mission which merely seeks to make people happier. Then the yeast-like power of God’s kingdom to bring lasting spiritual change is lost.

But wherever the Gospel is being shared, the “kingdom of heaven” is coming to the hearts of people, and the kingdom of heaven always makes a difference. Things don’t look so bad for the Church after all.

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