The other day I wrote about how I have been baking bread weekly and some reflections about the yeast in bread and Jesus' one-verse parable about it:
"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." --Matthew 13:33
As I made this week's batch of bread, starting this morning, and just about to finish up now, I was struck not by the idea of the activity of the yeast being so hard to see, but the time that it takes to work. It takes about 10 minutes to initially activate the yeast, and hour or so for the dough to rise the first time, and then an hour or so for the second rise after it has been shaped into loaves. Then, it has to be baked. Then, it has to cool for a little while or you'll burn your fingers when you try to slice off a piece because it smells so great and you want it so badly. But in the end, it's worth it.
We are not used to anything taking time. So much of what we do is instantaneous: texting, twitter, television shows on demand. It has bled over into our faith, too. We want people to make such quick decisions for Jesus without thinking about it, or we want him to return ASAP.
But if the kingdom of heaven is like yeast, which takes time to activate and really work, what does that tell us? If the kingdom of heaven is not instantaneous, what can we learn from that?