Day 16: A Whole New Level of Bread Baking

Return, for a moment, to the beginning months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instructed to remain apart to slow the spread of the virus, Americans took up new hobbies to account for their newfound abundance of free time.

And, as anyone with a social media account can recall, one hobby in particular exploded in popularity: bread baking.

You couldn’t refresh Instagram or Facebook without seeing an influencer or friend trying their hand at baking; there’s a good chance you embraced the trend yourself. I’d have to imagine that during this time, we as a country gained a new knowledge and appreciation of yeast, the leavening agent that allows dough to rise.

Jesus used the concept of leaven to further describe the kingdom of Heaven, adding onto His mustard seed parable from yesterday: “The kingdom of Heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all the way through the dough.”

Hold on; 60 pounds?!?

Is this woman feeding an army?

In order to impact the whole earth, Jesus needed a lot of metaphorical dough. But the dough is lifeless and won’t rise without leaven. It requires the yeast to move through and activate the dough, transforming it from an inedible blob into a delicious treat.

Yet, for as critical as yeast’s presence is to making bread, a very small amount of it is required compared to other ingredients. Some bread recipes call for as little as one tablespoon of yeast for every four cups of flour. But that small addition makes all the difference in the world.

This thought brings us back to yesterday’s parable of the mustard seed, which (like the kingdom of Heaven on earth) started small but would grow to have a massive impact. While God’s reign may seem small now, it will grow and eventually become all-encompassing. We’re called to trust in the power that this small, hidden work that Jesus started has the power to change the world.

However, Jesus didn’t always use yeast as a positive metaphor in His parables. Check back tomorrow to see the flipside of this comparison.