"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)
If you've never baked bread, you might not know that leaven is the thing that makes the bread rise. You don't need much of it, and it spreads throughout the whole lump of dough by itself.
But it spreads slowly, even imperceptibly. If you were to stare at the bread waiting for it to rise, you probably wouldn't be able to notice anything at all. But if you set the leaven, walked away, and came back after some time, that's when you'd see a difference.
If you've ever been eager to see someone grow in grace or to receive the word, and especially if you're attending to them in prayer every day, you might not be able to perceive any changes (even if there are some). Or if you're eagerly waiting on the kingdom and you've been looking for the work of God to change things, you may feel like you're waiting forever.
Jesus tells us this parable so that we can remember how the kingdom spreads, how his word changes people and societies. While we may want to see a conversion like Paul's or a mass repentance like Nineveh, it's more likely that our experience will be like that of leaven in a lump of dough.
So take heart, and don't let up praying for those who need the leavening word of God. His kingdom is coming.
Who are you praying for today?