The Mustard Seed and the Leaven

In his book, The Tipping Point, writer Malcolm Gladwell focuses on how small actions, at the right time, in the right place, and with the right people, can create a “tipping point.” In the book, Gladwell focuses on the growth of the Hushpuppy shoe model. In 1994, the Hushpuppy shoe sold a mere 30,000 pairs. However, something strange happened when a few fashion-forward hipsters from New York City started wearing these shoes to nightclubs and social events. What happened next was an epidemic of demand that swept through the fashion industry. Sales for this model went through the roof and in 1996 the Council of Fashion Designers awarded “Best Accessory” to the Hushpuppy shoe.

Growth from something small to large captivates our attention. There is something powerful that occurs when we witness this. Jesus referenced this type of transformational growth in the form of parable. In Luke 13, Jesus references the Mustard Seed and the Leaven. Contrary to his fellow gospel writers of Matthew and Mark, Luke’s intent is not to highlight the size of the plant or the amount of leaven; rather, Luke is focused on what happens when growth occurs.

In connection to the Mustard Seed, Luke describes a plant that grows beyond its normal capacity. It was no longer a plant that was seen as unruly or a potential threat to one’s garden, but would be something large enough to provide shelter and refuge to those who need it. The story of the Leaven draws us in to how God can work in our hearts to prepare us for Kingdom work. In the same way that leaven works from the inside to produce a large quantity so does the love of Jesus when we allow him to take over our lives.

The Kingdom of God will grow in surprising ways. Those ways may challenge us and take us out of our comfort zones, but we must trust in what God is doing in our lives.

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