Yeast as a Metaphor for Christian Evangelism


He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”   (Matthew 13:33)

Etching by Jan Luyken illustrating the leaven parable, from the Bowyer Bible.

Etching by Jan Luyken illustrating the leaven parable, from the Bowyer Bible.

Do people tune out when you share the meaning of the Lord in your life? Don’t be down. Jesus knew this would happen, and his parable of The Leaven puts things into perspective.

The late James Wiggins, in his book What Did Jesus Teach? richly interprets the parable. It’s not that yeast symbolizes evil. No, yeast is a positive metaphor for everyday Christian evangelism.

You remember the story.

And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like leaven that a woman took. (Luke 13: 20-21)

Jesus tells us that the Gospel of God’s kingdom spreads like a little bit of yeast when it’s added to a great amount of flour.

“Patience!” author Wiggins continues, “The Gospel of the kingdom is very potent even in small doses. When a little of it is added to someone’s heart, it takes time to work through it completely.” Don’t be discouraged if most of the time you fail to get positive feedback when speaking of your faith in the Lord.

Remember, the initial effect of yeast is not obvious, but its presence permanently transforms the mixture. It takes hours for yeast, just as it may take years for our words to have an effect. Eventually however, the outcome can be very great.

The Gospel of the kingdom is potent even in small doses. Adding a little to someone’s heart is always worth the effort.