Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Cooking or Baking (01/04/07)
TITLE: A Loaf of Bread
By Esther Phillips
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What does baking bread and making yeast doughnuts have to do with our spiritual journey? The yeast (or leavening agent) is the common ingredient. Listen for it as we hear the words of Jesus in Luke 13:20-21, “And again he said, ‘To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.’”
Dough requires only a small amount of yeast to provide enough leavening to make bread or doughnuts. Likewise, the kingdom of God expands with even the smallest acts of kindness. The acts of kindness can be either through word or deed.
As I think back to the process of baking bread, I first remember that to activate the yeast, you mix it with water. It is real important that the water is neither hot nor cold, it must be warm. As a Christian, I think about being cold or indifferent, and I know that this will not expand the kingdom of God. Also, if I am too hot, I will probably be obnoxious and turn more people away than call them into the kingdom. After the yeast is mixed with the flour, you have to mix it until it is smooth and elastic. Continuing with the Christian analogy, this is where the Christian becomes pliable and adaptable to the teachings of Christ. The bread dough is next placed in a warm place. This is where the Christian joins other Christians in a safe and comfortable setting so they can grow. The dough indeed grows and when it is double in size, you remove it from the warm place and punch it down. This might indicate when a Christian meets with hard times. At this point, you divide the dough and put it in separate pans. This may point to the fact that the Christian has grown enough to be able to reach out to others by themselves. You place these separate pans back in a warm place so they can expand again. For the Christian, we know that we cannot go it alone, but we need to continue to be in a fellowship where we are nurtured and continue to grow. When the dough has doubled this time, the individual pans are placed in the oven and baked until they are done which is when you smell the sweet aroma. When the Christian is mature is the time when the people are drawn to them because of their sweet spirit. Finally, you bring out the knife, cut into this loaf of bread, and take a bite of that satisfying taste of fresh baked bread. This may be when we experience a sense of completeness like when we’ve been told that we had some effect on someone’s life.
Now to the heart of the matter. Are we being leaven and expanding the kingdom of God through all we touch? At this point, we need to be reminded that if we don’t eat this bread when it is fresh, it will become crusty, day-old, or even moldy. In other words, if we are not staying fresh through God and his word, we can’t be leaven. For this new day and new week, may we see God with a fresh awareness and may people be drawn to us as if they smelled fresh baked bread. May God find us acting as yeast by doing small acts of kindness that leavens the whole loaf. May people taste the kingdom of God through us?
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