Matthew 13:21 Ō[The Kingdom of God] is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.ÕĶ
Late last fall, after the first frost and before the first snow, I livened up my bare window boxes with some small pumpkins. They looked great for quite awhile. As they passed their prime, I did nothing about them, thinking myself quite clever for turning my window boxes into squirrel feeders as my furry friends scurried up and broke them open for some pumpkin pie. It wasnÕt until this Spring, when I put some flowers in the boxes, that I removed the few remaining pieces of pumpkin.
Now it is late August and the flowers in one of the window boxes have been completely choked out by, you guessed it, a pumpkin vine. Another one grows from the ground below. Both vines have flowered and look healthy, although I have my doubts that pumpkins were meant to be hanging plants. Perhaps I will have a visit from the Great Pumpkin this Halloween.
ItÕs not an exact parallel to JesusÕ parable about the leaven, but I think it makes the same general point about contagion. If youÕve made bread, you know that a little yeast goes a long way. Here Jesus uses the image in a positive way. A little of the Kingdom of God mixed in, spreads to the rest of the dough. In other places Jesus uses the image of yeast to depict sin, making the same point. Put in a little, and it spreads. My pumpkin vines are neutral. While I didnÕt intend for them to grow in either place, my thumb is brown enough that IÕm just pleased to see anything green in my window boxes at all. And, hey, I like pumpkins. They remind me that there are some things that will grow just because theyÕre there, even if youÕve tried to plant something else in that space.
Whether the yeast represents the ways of God or the ways of sin, itÕs the same. Once it gets down in the soil of our hearts, it will grow and choke out other things. If itÕs GodÕs love mixed into the soil it will eventually sprout. If sin is in there, it too will grow and bear fruit. The lesson? Be intentional about what you put in the window boxes of your lives. It may look like something is just for show, but if you leave it there long enough, it may break open and get into the soil.
So maybe you just signed up for that mission trip because you were bored or you wanted to impress somebody. More than one person has returned with the seed of generosity growing in their soil. Maybe you just went along with that revolting comment at work to keep from making waves. More than one person has ended up producing such comments themselves. The kicker is that even what you intentionally try to put there can be choked out by something that you allowed to go to seed untended. If that something is sinful, itÕs not the end of the world, youÕll just have to do a lot of weeding to get what you really want. If that something gone to seed is the kingdom of God, well, maybe youÕll have pumpkin pie!
Teach me your ways, God, and let them go to seed in the soil of my life.
Copyright by Anne Robertson, 2008
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