Pushing along with the noisy crowd following Jesus, a Hebrew boy heard a familiar voice behind him.
“Wait up!” Turning around, he saw his friend struggling through the mass of people.
“I didn’t know you were coming,” the boy said.
“They convinced me to go.” His friend shrugged his shoulders.
“What about you?”
“I figured I’d come and see who my parents keep talking about,” replied the first boy.
Scanning the crowd, he found his parents and waved. Finding a less-crowded spot above the crowd, they sprawled in the grass. A man in front raised his hand.
The crowd grew quiet.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field,” Jesus said (Matthew 13:31).
The boy looked to where Jesus was pointing. “What’s so special about that?” he whispered to his friend.
“I agree. It’s just a plant.” Mustard plants were common. They often grew more than six feet tall. Birds flocked to the plants. They ate the tiny seeds and rested on the shady branches. In the early spring the boys liked to eat the curly green shoots of the plant.
“Though it is the smallest of all seeds,” Jesus continued, “yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches” (verse 32).
The crowd murmured its agreement. Jesus continued teaching by telling another story.
“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” (verse 33).
The boy thought about the many times he had watched his mother make bread. She added only a small amount of yeast in comparison to the flour. But the yeast worked throughout the dough. It didn’t just stay in one little corner. As the yeast spread through the dough, the bread all rose together, not just one little section at a time.
He whispered to his friend, “What do a mustard plant and bread have to do with the kingdom?”
“I don’t know,” his friend whispered back. “Let’s ask your father.”
Walking home at the end of the day with his family, the boy couldn’t wait any longer. “Did any of you understand what Jesus was talking about with the mustard seed and the yeast?” he blurted out.
“What do you think He meant?” his father asked.
“I’m not sure,” the boy replied. “I think that He might have been talking about us.”
“That seems right,” agreed the father.
“As God’s chosen people, we make up His kingdom. What do you think?” He turned to the other boy.
“Maybe that’s it. Then any of us could belong to God’s kingdom. What a privilege! But what about the yeast?” asked his friend.
“I think I understood that part,” the boy replied, walking slowly. “You’ve watched your mother bake bread, have you not?” asked his father. The yeast goes throughout all the bread, not just part of it.”
The boy stopped again and looked at his father. “But how can we recognize the new kingdom?” he asked slowly.
“Others around us will recognize that God’s kingdom has taken root in our lives, when we produce good fruit for God’s glory,” said his father.
“Does that mean that we will produce good fruit naturally?” quipped his friend.
“You’re right. God does it all for us,” said the mother, “from beginning to end.”
The boy put his hand on his mother’s shoulder. “May I help you make bread today?”