Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3568

Jump Start # 3568

Matthew 13:33 “He spoke another parable to them, saying, ‘ The kingdom of Heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.”

  Many of our readers know that I have a passion about restoration history. I’m like an old hound dog always on the search more books that I do not have about the early days of the church in this country. I have stood behind the very pulpit that Racoon John Smith preached from. Boy, I wanted to take that pulpit. I have given lectures at the famed Cane Ridge meeting house, where Barton W. Stone preached. I have dozens and dozens of books that were published in the 1800s. Some of those old books are getting close to being two hundred years old. And, while that seems old to us, there are people named in those books that someone knew, who later someone knew. Just a couple of generations later there is a direct connection.

  For instance, my sweet dad passed away three years ago. I remember him telling me that when he was a boy, he met someone that had been in the Civil War. One generation, my dad, was a link between then and now. My sweet dad always had a fascination about the Civil War. He had a massive collection of books about the Civil War. As kids, our vacations often were going to Civil War battlefields. My dad’s great grandfather fought in the Civil War. The Civil War ended 159 years ago. That seems like a long time ago. Yet, I have a letter written from a family member during the Civil War. Hanging on an office wall at home is an original Indiana regiment poster from 1863 listing names and battles that unit was involved in.

  The New Testament covers about 100 years. It is short in time. It is conceivable that 150 years after the N.T. was completed there were people whose parents met the apostles or possibly had even seen Jesus. There were multitudes and multitudes impacted by Jesus. The feeding of the 5,000 men, likely included a total of 10,000 to 20,000 people. More than five hundred saw the resurrected Jesus. Luke tells us that there were so many “thousands of people gathered together that they were stepping on one another” (12:1). So many people that saw Jesus. Those stories would have been passed down from generation to generation.

  In our passage today, that tiny bit of leaven is worked into the bowl with flour and is baked and becomes a loaf of homemade bread. The leaven is tiny. It doesn’t take much. It does it’s work slowly. You’re not going to see a YouTube video of leaven working it’s way through flour. But you mix it up, leave it and come back after a while and it is ready to bake.

  Jesus uses this common illustration to describe the growth process of the kingdom. It started small. It looked insignificant. But, in time, it influenced the world and changed the lives of thousands eternally.

  And, the kingdom grows the same today. A person here. A person there. Step by step and in time, more and more and more and more. That leaven works through the hearts of people and changes them.

  Some lessons for us:

  First, don’t be discouraged by slow growth. Sometimes the rapid growth doesn’t last. With new people comes the responsibility of teaching them, helping them get grounded and finding a place for them in the fellowship. Just keep inviting. Just keep teaching. Just keep working that leaven into the world. When the Gospel intersects with good and honest hearts growth will take place.

  Second, you and I have a story to tell. It’s not our story, it’s His story. We have different backgrounds, histories and baggage, yet we all come to Christ the same way. We believe that Gospel message. It changes our hearts. We know that the message is true. God has been good to us. God has been patient with us.

  Third, the Gospel dropped into a world that was a wreck morally. And, our world is a wreck morally. We must remember that the light shines the brightest not in a well lit room, but in the darkest of places. As our world turns away from God, that Gospel message looks brighter and brighter each day.

  One doesn’t need an armful of tracts, sit through a quarter of classes about premillennialism, denominationalism, Calvinism and all the other isms to tell people about Jesus. “What if they ask me something I don’t know?” Be honest and tell them you don’t know. Then go do your homework and find the answer. “What if they say, ‘No’?” Be kind and continue to be their friend. “What if they get aggressive and say unkind things?” Proverbs tells us not to answer a fool. So, don’t.

  We ought to know the story of Jesus as if we had been in the audience listening to the Lord ourselves. A little leaven. Not a lot of leaven. Not all the leaven. But just a little bit and given time, it will work wonders. The Gospel is the same way.