[I am posting this again for the benefit of the email subscribers who received only half of the original post because I accidentally hit a button before I was finished.]
Matthew 13:33 Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.
In this parable the woman is the symbol of the divine agency, the meal is the human heart, the leaven is the Gospel. As leaven diffuses itself through the meal until the whole lump is leavened, so the grace of God and the power of the Gospel are a diffusive power, which impregnates the whole heart and transforms its character. As the parable of the mustard tree describes the external, so this parable describes the internal prevalence of the Gospel power. It describes the internal influence not upon the individual alone, but upon the masses of humanity. (Daniel Whedon, Whedon’s Commentary)
When my mother baked bread, she kneaded the dough three times: first when she mixed it; then after it rose the first time she would punch it down and knead it again; after the second rise she would punch it down and knead it again, then form it into loaves and allow them to rise once more before baking. The purpose of all that kneading was to distribute the yeast evenly through the whole lump. The result was a light loaf, with no big holes in the middle.
Leaven, or yeast, is a living thing and needs warmth to grow. So does the gospel. It is obvious to believers and unbelievers alike that the cold, hard confrontationalism of the Westboro Baptist Church does not make the gospel grow and spread.
But how are the rest of us doing? Are we expending too much of our time and resources worrying about conditions in the world over which we have no control? And not enough spreading the warmth of Christian love in situations near at hand where it might make a little difference?
God’s hatred of sin is real. But the good news of the gospel is that God loves sinners and wants to rescue them from the bondage and consequences of their sin. We can become so wrapped up in a constant striving to be good, that we hardly have time to do good to those who are hurting. Where then is the warmth of the gospel?
Can people feel the warmth of genuine Christian love when they meet us, visit in our homes, visit our churches? If they can, then surely the leaven of the gospel will grow and spread.