He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
Matthew 13: 31-33
These are a two very short and simple parables. Both parables basically tell us that wondrous things can come from very small beginnings. A tiny seed or working a fine powder into some flour can produce useful things: a tree for birds to perch in or the beginnings of bread. Likewise, even the simplest of the wisdom of the Bible or the smallest act of kindness can grow to change the world.
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches."
In the Judeo-Christian tradition we tend to think of "heaven" as a place we go after we die if we have been good. If that is what you believe, I think that is certainly a valid thought. However, I don't think it is the only way of thinking about heaven. The minister I grew up listening to much of my life, Reverend D.L. Dykes - First United Methodist Church - Shreveport, lamented more than once in a sermon that it was far too easy for people to readily believe that you could build your own hell on earth and yet they would too easily overlook the possibility of heaven on earth. Is heaven a much better distinct place from this world? Absolutely! Does that stop us from praying to God in the Lord's prayer "Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven . . . ."? Nope. So what does this discussion have to do with the verse: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field."
The kingdom of heaven is described as something that grows from a small seed that a man takes and plants in his field. I believe that if you take in the Words of the Bible and plant them in your heart and nurture them in your daily living that it will grow into a large tree like garden plant that benefits others.
I believe that if you nourish the small seed of a prayer into a life of praying that it can grow into something much larger that provides for you and others.
I believe that if you take the smallest seeds of a single blessing and nurture and grow that single blessing into a life of accepting and giving blessings that that is very much like the kingdom of heaven.
Can you have heaven on earth? No, but you can have something "like" the kingdom of heaven on earth. Everything falls short of the kingdom of heaven and everyone's life fall short of the life of Jesus but, we are all called to follow Christ and so we should do our best to follow the Will of God as if His Will dictated our every action like it does in heaven.
The Parable of the Yeast
“The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
Yeast causes dough to rise. The kingdom of heaven is described to us, it's rules are laid out for us, stories to help us understand it are all in the Bible. Read the Bible daily and some of that "yeast" that will help you rise is worked into you, you blob of dough. Act selflessly, abiding by the direction that the Bible leads you in and more heavenly yeast is worked into your soul. Accept blessings/acts of kindness from others and life becomes very much like heaven on earth.
The Parable of the Mustard Seed and the parable of the Yeast taken together
It is possible that these two parables were kind of lumped together simply because both parables are very short. That is why you and I might lump them together but, since I believe that this is the perfect inspired word of God, I suspect that these two parables are lumped together for a reason. There is something clearer in Jesus' message by thinking of these two parables closely together. (I think I just set myself up to comparing each of the parables and thinking about how Jesus arranged the parables in a certain order and why explanations of the parables are place where they are placed in this chapter.) But, why are these two parables place so closely together. You may have some better ideas than I do. Seeds and yeast are both small. Both must be cared for or each could die and produce nothing. Both seeds and yeast the crucial element in producing a food product. Both tiny mustard seeds and yeast are so small that either could be passed up without notice. It takes some understanding to know how to get anything at all from a tiny seed or a tiny powdery micro-organism. Neither is man-made but man benefits greatly from both. So, what is the kingdom of heaven like?