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Mustard Seeds and Yeast


Theme: Size doesn't matter in the kingdom of heaven Proper 12 (17) Yr. A
Object: Mustard seeds and a packet of yeast
Scripture: He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches." He told them still another parable: "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." Matthew 13:31-33 (NIV)

Today I brought with me two things that may not be familiar to some of you. The first thing I want to show you are these mustard seeds. See how tiny the mustard seeds are? They are the smallest seeds I have ever seen. And look at the yeast. The yeast comes in very small packets. Both are very small, yet, in our Bible lesson today, the mustard seed and yeast are used by Jesus to describe what the kingdom of heaven is like.

Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches." What can we learn from the mustard seed? Well, I think we can learn that we are never too small to be important in God's eyes. You and I may be small, but we can help to grow the kingdom of God.

Some of you may not be familiar with yeast. Do you know what happens when you take a tiny amount of yeast and mix it with water and flour, salt and little bit of sugar? The yeast spreads all through that mixture and produces dough that gives you big, soft, fluffy, delicious loaves of bread. The flour and water and sugar and salt just can't do it alone. The yeast has an affect on everything — just from one tiny piece. Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened." That is what Jesus wants us to do. He wants us, as part of his kingdom, to change the world around us and make it better.

The ministry of Jesus started very small—twelve men in an obscure corner of Galilee—but it has spread throughout the world. Like a small amount of yeast affects the entire loaf, the disciples of Jesus have affected the entire world. The nature of yeast is to grow and to change whatever it contacts. When we accept Christ, his grace grows in our hearts and changes us from the inside out. As the gospel changes lives, it changes the entire world.

You may be small, but like the mustard seed and the yeast, you are important in the kingdom of heaven.

Father, help us to remember that size is not important in your kingdom. You can use even the smallest one of us to grow the kingdom and bring change to the world around us. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

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An alternate lesson based on Matthew 13:45-46: "The Price Is Right"
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