I was struck one day in my Bible reading with what Jesus said about the Kingdom of God. His audience did not have 2000+ years of Christianity behind them heralding him as God incarnate. But they had an idea about the kind of kingdom God’s would be. If it was truly God’s, it would certainly dominate any earthly rival.
But domination was not among the ideas Jesus shared about the Kingdom of God nor were might, majesty or power. Rather, ordinary and even lowly fit better for this kingdom Jesus claimed was home to him and “at hand” and accessible to all present.
Jesus depicted Kingdom people as poor in spirit and meek, mournful, merciful, peacemakers (Matthew 5: 1-10). And then he drew upon common, every day items to describe how Kingdom “subjects” were, like salty salt (v13), light-giving lamps (v14) and in another lesson, seeds that grow into giant trees, and a small portion of yeast that leavens a large batch of dough (Luke 13: 18-21).
Yeast. That one struck me. You can’t get more ordinary than yeast.
In 2012 after four plus years of career search posturing, I failed to secure any of the positions I sought despite making “the finals” on several occasions. But as I searched, I kept God in clear view and trusted that the doors that opened were either opened by Him or allowable by Him for me to pursue. This I did with every one. And here I stand, where I now am.
While I can’t see how my present fits with the balance of my life, I trust I am where God wants me right now. I am not in a career but I have a job with a good company. I don’t have impact like I would as an organizational manager but I can certainly be Kingdom yeast in my workplace.
The lesson of yeast and all Jesus’ kingdom analogies is that attaining the manner of God’s kingdom does not require any measure of success or status in this kingdom, the kingdom of the world, life now. In fact, success in this world may jeopardize our ability to truly see or at least dim our view of the Kingdom of God. (I need to keep that in mind if I should ever find my way back into whatever it is I think I’m looking for!)
Another realization from further study on this topic: virtually every Biblical character experienced this wandering into seemingly wayward places while being attentive to God, including Jesus himself. Think of his beginning, our Christmas: The scandal of his apparent illegitimacy seemed to cling to him even into adulthood – John 8:41?
When in this life, you feel helpless or impotent or left by the wayside, be alert to God slipping in under the radar to win you back to himself or re-establish your relationship with him. Christmas is about that.
If you should be so fortunate to join or rejoin the Kingdom procession, take heart when (not if!) you wander into some places and situations that are not what you had in mind. Where you find yourself will be where He is accomplishing His purposes in and through you.
- ORNAMENT TEXT:
FRONT: Fleshman’s (Blessed Are the…) YEAST; All Natural
BACK: BLESSED ARE THE … YEAST?; (Jesus) asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to” It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.” (Luke 13: 20-21, NIV84)
- PERSONAL NOTE: This year’s ornament title melds words from three of Jesus’ teachings:
1) Borrowing a “Blessed are…” from his “Beatitudes” – how God’s Kingdom is (Matthew 5: 1-16)
2) A missing word, “Least.” How God is “in” our care of the least among us. (Matthew 25: 40)
3) And, “Yeast” – Jesus comparing the Kingdom of God to an ordinary staple of life that everyone could relate to. (Luke 13:21)
All of the above describes the year of 2012 for me – The sense of not hitting the mark (Least) and being merely ordinary (Yeast) in a world attentive to everything but. But, all the while, “Blessed…” by people in my life lifting me up and, every step of the way, God!
- DESIGN INSPIRATION: came from the Fleischmann’s Active Dry Yeast package (http://www.fleischmannsyeast.com/landing.html). I presume their yeast is great but their package had perfect ornament appeal!