A mustard seed, a measure of yeast, a fabulously expensive pearl, a treasure buried in a field, a net full of fish. What do all these have in common? Jesus uses them to teach us about the kingdom of God. (Matthew 13:31-33,44-52 see below)
Part of the point is that the world itself is always communicating God to us, and if we know what to look for we can see God’s hand at work.
But often we miss the message. We see the mustard seed, not the promise of a larger life. We see the yeast, not the assurance of abundance. We see the barren field, not the treasure that can transform our lives.
Nevertheless, the kingdom will grow and spread. Grow and spread until we see and find the place of peace and rest. Grow and spread until everyone is fed with the good fresh risen bread of life.
Because the kingdom is of God. And God loves the world. God will not cease, will never settle for less than the redemption of all. This is why God planted the church. To keep sowing the seed, to keep working the yeast, to keep celebrating the pearl, to unearth and share the treasure in every language, in every neighborhood, in every age. Until there is peace among all nations. Until all people see and treat one another as beloved children of the same Father and Savior and Spirit. Which is what we are.
Jesus put before the crowds another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches."
He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened."
"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
"Have you understood all this?" They answered, "Yes." And he said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old."