September 19, 2017

Pastoral Nuggets: The Leaven of Life

Brother-Aaron-236x300In 1 Corinthians 5:6(b) (KJV) Paul, speaking about cooking bread, asks the believers at Corinth, “Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?”

Now, for those who may not know what leaven is, just think of it as yeast or self-rising flour.

So, in essence, Paul is teaching them that as believers, just like leaven, sometimes small doses of the right stuff produces big results!

Whenever I have read, taught, or preached this particular scripture, I have assumed the negative. In other words, it only takes a little bit of bad to ruin everything.

You may remember the old saying, “One bad apple spoils the whole bunch.” This means that a bad person, policy, etc., can ruin everything around it.

And while this is true, I am beginning to realize that this is a narrow-minded point of view. To only see one side of anything means that at a minimum we are potentially missing 50% of the truth.

In other words, if it only takes a little bad to make everything bad, can’t the reverse be true? Couldn’t it be that a little good can make everything good? Here is the truth – good or bad, it is up to us which leaven we choose to allow into our lives or to place into the lives of others.

The leaven of life we Christians want to deposit into the life of others comes in in many different shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors.  The good part is that we usually only need to make small deposits.  Once deposited, the leaven works its own magic.

Words are the leaven of life. In fact, Solomon said in Proverbs 25:11(KJV), “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” A compliment or a word of encouragement, spoken at the right moment, has the potential to produce such a positive impact upon someone that it will affect them for the rest of their life!

Perhaps you have a mental image of someone, who, at a critical moment in your life, spoke a word of encouragement that made such a positive impact upon you that it will stay with you for the rest of your life.

Their words altered your life-path. Their words told you that they believed it you. They encouraged you; they supported you; they were there for you, and they never gave up on you. They didn’t necessarily do anything huge.

You can’t narrow what they did down to one big something. But all through your life they were there, at just the right moments, pouring small doses of positive leaven into you. And that leaven is now irreversibly intertwined into the DNA of who you are.

Many people suffer from directional confusion. Therefore, a little bit of leaven, good or bad, will determine which life-path they take.

As Christians, it is our responsibility and privilege to pour into them the positive leaven of life! Compliments and words of encouragement aren’t expensive, difficult to give, or time consuming. However, we do have to discipline ourselves to give them.

We must remember that whenever we sincerely tell somebody that they look nice today, they did a good job, we appreciate the way they did something, that we think they will excel in their chosen vocation or life-choice, and that we appreciate them – we are pouring into them the positive leaven of life. Trust me. Over time those deposits will begin to rise and produce something wonderful!

And to those parents reading this column today that have graduating seniors this year – you’re welcome for the reminder!  The positive leaven you deposited is rising!

Brother Aaron

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