And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?…
You tell your child that this pine-tree out here in the sandy field is one day going to be as large as that great sonorous pine that sings to every wind in the wood. The child, incredulous, determines to watch and see whether the field-pine really does grow and become as large as you say it will. So, the next morning, he goes out and takes a look at it, and comes back and says, "It has not grown a particle." At night he goes out and looks at it again, and comes back and says, "It has not grown a bit." The next week he goes out, and looks at it again, and comes back, and says, "It has not grown yet. Father said it would be as large as the pine-tree in the wood, but I do not see any likelihood of its becoming so." How long did it take the pine-tree in the wood to grow? Two hundred years. Then men who lived when it began to grow have been buried, and generations besides have come and gone since then. And do you suppose that God's kingdom is going to grow so that you can look at it and see that it has grown during any particular day? You cannot see it grow. All around you are things that are growing, but that you cannot see grow. And if it is so with trees, and things that spring out of the ground, how much more is it so with the kingdom of God! That kingdom is advancing surely, though it advances slowly, and though it is invisible to us. You will remember our Master's beautiful parable, where He says, "The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till the whole was leavened." I suppose you know what that means. I go into your kitchen when you are baking bread, and ask, "What is that you are stirring into that flour?" You say, "It is yeast." I ask, "What is it for?" You say, "It is to raise the bread." I imagine that it is to raise it in a way that shall be perceptible to my senses, and say, "Let me see it do it." You set the bread away in a warm place, or at the south, in a cool place, if you can find one, and you say, "Now it will rise." After watching it closely for a while, I say to you, "I do not see that it has risen at all." You say, "Bless you, my child, you cannot see it rise!" I go away, and stay till I think it will have come up, if there is any such thing as its coming up, and then go back, but I cannot see that it has undergone any change. I wait and wait and wait, and at last say, "I do not believe it is going to rise." And you say, "It has risen already," and tear it open; and lo! it is full of holes; and you say, "Now do not you believe that it has risen? It has been rising all the time, only you could not see it rise." Christ says that His kingdom is just like that. It is a great kingdom, which extends all over the world, and into which He has put the leaven of Divine grace. That grace is like yeast, and it works in this kingdom of Christ. You cannot see it, even if you watch for it; but there it is; and if, after a while, you go and look at it, you will be convinced that it has been working, by the results which it has produced. You will find that things have been done, though you could not see them done. Men are becoming better the world over, though you cannot trace the process by which they are becoming better. Christ's kingdom goes forward from age to age, though you cannot discern the steps by which it is going forward. While men, as individuals, pass off from the stage of life, God's work does not stop.
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?