Monday, October 7, 2019

The Realm of God

It is halftime and you realize you haven't really been engaged in the game.  You thought you knew what the scoreboard signified ... success, winning, attention, money, recognition.  But as you reflect and honestly ask 'how am I really doing?' you realize that the game, the score and the assessments might be very off target.  This is the scenario Bob Buford faced as his beautiful, successful and promising son was lost in an accident in the Rio Grande.

Albert Einstein said, "what is incomprehensible is beyond the realm of science ... it is in the realm of God."  And this realm ... the realm/kingdom of God is where we (God's people, His children, His treasured possession) are called to live.  It is the most beautiful and dangerous place ever!

If you want to know what the Kingdom of God is 'like' you can dream, imagine, make up your own truth, or you can ask an authority on the subject ... Jesus.  In Matthew 13 Jesus provides 6 Kingdom Parables.  They are provided so we can learn and know about where God desires us to live ... but if you think they are easy, they are not.  If you think they are cute stories, they are not.  They are insights that Jesus provides so we can work, think, reflect, ponder and struggle our way to understanding.  They are not science, but they are expressions of truth.  Five of the six begin with "The Kingdom of Heaven is like."

This week we will only take a snippet of truth from these parables.  Matthew 13:33 is the one-verse parable of the yeast.  There are three truths about the yeast.  First, it must be placed into the dough.  Second, a little goes a long way.  Finally, that little bit of yeast permeates the entire batch of bread.

The Kingdom parables all relate to God's action/activity in the world.  We are not deists who believe God is distant and disassociated with the world.  God claims this world (and everything in it, [Ps. 24:1, Matthew 28:18]).  God is active, baking the bread of life ... steering us and the entirety of existence toward His ultimate good purpose.  That is probably a challenging statement when we are confronted with a loss like the one Bob Buford faced.  But God is ultimately concerned with His Kingdom which, for God's people, is where we live now and later.  God is the 'baker' here.

I am really glad about the second part of this parable ... 'a little goes a long way.'  This morning, after a very bust week of Moonlighter-Madness I am pretty spent.  I don't have much to give, so my 'yeast' is pretty minimal.  I think the yeast in this parable represents our efforts, our goodness and our gifts we bring to the table.  For me this is not much.  But thankfully, the baker doesn't need much.  Because the Kingdom of Heaven (here and when we are with God) is a place where seed multiplies, wheat is grown among weeds, good fish are caught among bad fish, buried treasure is found in a field and pearls of great value are identified.  When we live in the kingdom our 'little' goes a long way.

Finally, the overall purpose of the parable is found in the treasure of how yeast works.  A little is placed in the dough.  It reproduces and multiplies while it is unseen.  The baker's design is that it permeates the entire loaf (the whole world).  It is not science.  It is incomprehensible that something that small will make the entire loaf beautiful, appetizing and perfect.  But it is how God works.  And it is our purpose as the 'yeast.'

"The Kingdom of Heaven is 'like' the yeast a woman used in making bread.  Even though she only put a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough. Matthew 13:33).

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