I’ve been experimenting with bread making this week. It’s not as exciting as you think. My husband went into our back room and dug out my bread machine so I only have to layer everything in a precise way and press a button. It’s pretty easy, or so you would think. Here is my first attempt.
It looks awful, right? It was even worse inside. Uncooked and mushy, we couldn’t even make croutons out of this loaf. What went wrong? Lots of things I believe. The first of which was the temperature of the liquid when it connected with the yeast. You don’t want boiling hot and you definitely don’t want cold. I think my liquid was too cold. I also think the recipe I used didn’t call for enough liquid so the bread didn’t mix in the machine correctly. Nevertheless I persevered and look what happened.
This loaf worked. I made sure that the water was exactly the right temperature. I watched it like a hawk to ensure that the moisture level was correct and then I ate it smothered in jam. It was definitely worth the effort and I realized something very important. Yeast is a little picky but when added at the right time, to the right mix amazing things can happen.
Because of my failures and final success with yeast, I started to think about Jesus and what he says about yeast. Having a better understanding of how yeast works and the multitude of ways it can fail, I realized something important. Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is like yeast that is worked into flour. When yeast is worked in and the right setting is there, amazing things can happen. If however the setting is wrong, there’s nothing the yeast can do and ultimately the bread will fail. It would seem to me that as God’s people we should be trying to keep ourselves open and ready for the spirit to move within us, to be the yeast in our lives and help us expand and grow.
I think ultimately we would say we want this but it’s scary to contemplate. When you look at bread, when you look at what yeast can do, how it changes and shapes the dough, that kind of change is frightening. Do we really want to double in love, in service, in devotion and commitment? Do we want our churches to double in love, in service, in devotion, and commitment? I think if they did amazing things could happen but our lives and church and worship would look very different from how they do today.
Are we ready to open ourselves up and prepare ourselves to do God’s work in the world or are we frightened of what that means? Do you think you’re ready for yeast to be added to the mix?
He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” Matthew 13:33 NIV