Any baker knows the importance of yeast in the process of baking most breads. That little package does wonders in the rising process. Just so, I have seen a lot of small seeds in my life but I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a mustard seed. I’m hearing it’s the smallest of all seeds (MT 13:31-35)… I have, however, watched trees on our property double in size in what seems just a few years – notably lately a large oak whose crop of acorns has just begun to appear. You know where this is going; it’s those two parables that are easier than most to understand. Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven to mustard seeds and yeast – small at the start but burgeoning into a huge tree or permeating a whole batch of bread as the necessary growth agent.
We could interpret these parables as giving us things to watch as they grow – just as the Kingdom of Heaven is growing in the world. But my sense is that Jesus means for his listeners to take what he says more directly. What if we, his hearers today, are the host for the change agents, providing the fertile soil for the seed of the kingdom to grow in us? What if we are the dough awaiting the yeast that we might be the ones to make possible the rising and the spread of the Kingdom here and now? Or more to the point, what if we are that seed or that yeast, having received the impulse of the Holy Spirit to use our energy for the growing and the spreading? We may not be the tree, visible to all by its spreading branches and great size. We may not be the beautiful and delicious bread from the oven giving joy to a hungry crowd. Unseen, unheard, unnoticed we may be doing the work that will advance the Kingdom which Jesus said is within us until it bursts forth to the glory of God and the benefit of the world. That is our call. And that is enough.