Day 89: March 30, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

Matthew 13:33-35 Read Online
Mark 4:33-34 Read Online

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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into 50 pounds of flour until it spread through all of it.”

—Matthew 13:33

by Steve Layton, Discipleship Minister, Brentwood Campus

I admit it—I enjoy cooking. Before following God’s call to vocational ministry, I worked for a successful Burger King franchise in Birmingham, Alabama. Working as a fast food manager requires extensive product knowledge and efficiency in working every station in the restaurant.

Believe it or not, when Burger King first entered the breakfast business, biscuits were homemade with flour, sugar, salt, yeast, butter, milk, sifting, kneading, rolling, and baking.

It was with terror that I approached the biscuit station for the first time. I feared some customer from Hardee’s might be running late and decide to grab a biscuit at our drive-through window instead of enjoying those fluffy, freshly-baked, buttered treats they were accustomed to. Talk about the pressure.

Now this I know, 50 pounds is a lot of flour. The key to understanding today’s parable is to note that Jesus said the woman mixed the yeast into a large amount of flour (about 50 pounds) until it worked all through the dough. The little bit of yeast worked its way through the entire lump, radically changing its size and shape.

And that’s the point—the pervasive, internal, unseen power of the yeast that stimulates enormous internal growth.

The idea is that the kingdom of heaven, in some ways, is hidden from sight—much like the yeast. The truth is, Jesus makes His truth accessible to those who seek it, but difficult to find for those who resist it.[i] [ii]

Like the yeast works in the flour, Christ is working in us. His transforming power is radically making us more like Him. His desire is for us to become like Him—formed, conformed, and transformed into His image—so that His personality and deeds naturally flow out of us where we live, work and play.

Just because we can’t see God at work in our lives doesn’t mean that He’s not at work, transforming us into His image.

Recently, I was thinking about some bread starter or sponge that one of our church members left for our staff last Christmas. They had placed the sponge in plastic bags with instructions for keeping it alive. (I was somewhat afraid to close my refrigerator door and leave it alone.) The instructions encouraged staff members to use and share their starter with others.

My hope is that, as we become more like Jesus, we’ll confidently and generously share Him with others.

[i] Weber, S. K. (2000). Vol. 1: Matthew. Holman New Testament Commentary (199–201). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[ii] Cooper, R. L. (2000). Vol. 2: Mark. Holman New Testament Commentary (71). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Reflection Questions

  1. How am you being formed, conformed, and transformed into the image of God?
  2. What are your next steps in becoming more like Jesus today?
  3. Who do you need to tell about the transforming power of Jesus? What’s hindering you from sharing Jesus with them?

About the Author

Steve Layton
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Steve is a graduate of Samford University and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS), with a Master of Divinity and Doctorate of Ministry in Leadership and Administration.

Over the last 29 years in ministry, he’s served in churches throughout Alabama, worked at LifeWay Christian Resources, and taught at NOBTS and Jefferson State Community College. And, currently, he serves as Discipleship Minister at Brentwood Baptist.

Prior to coming to Brentwood Baptist, Steve worked on a new discipleship philosophy that was later branded “JourneyOn.” This discipleship strategy has grown and now includes a home emphasis called “JourneyOn @ Home.”

Steve is married to Melinda and they have five children: Kristen, Matthew, Michael, Meaghan, and John. In his free time, Steve plays bass guitar, is a marine aquarium hobbyist, loves football, and is a bad golfer. His life objective is to “equip and encourage people on their journeys toward Christlikeness.”