Doesn’t buttermilk ice cream sound delicious?  Does pineapple buttermilk ice cream sound any better?  If you have never tried it, take my word for it…it is awful.

When I was young, one of my favorite things to do at my grandparents was make homemade ice cream.  I am talking about the old-fashioned method of “hand cranking.”  I never thought about if but the reason we used a hand crank ice cream freezer was the lack of electricity.  I was always first to volunteer to do the hand cranking job.  If I did the work, I would get the first bowl of ice cream.  One of my smaller cousins would have the job of sitting on the freezer to keep it from moving around while I cranked.  That cousin would receive the second bowl.

The family favorite was pineapple.  The family was large so we had a two-gallon freezer.  On one hot Sunday afternoon we were all ready for some cold, refreshing, pineapple ice cream.  With each crank of the freezer, I could just taste the delicious treat.  When I could no longer turn the crank, we would usually pack the freezer to let it harden more.  This was always the worst part.  The waiting was almost unbearable.  But, it was always worth it.

After the waiting period was over, I was served the first bowl.  To my surprise it was the most awful tasting concoction I had ever tasted.  None of the parents would believe me when I said it was awful.  By the look on my face it should have been obvious that I was not lying.  When my mother tasted the ice cream, she understood.  They figured out what had happened.  When they mixed the ice cream, they needed about a quart of milk to fill the container.  One of my mother’s sisters grabbed a bottle of milk and poured it in.  IT JUST HAPPENED TO BE BUTTERMILK! 

They poured the contaminated ice cream out and here came my grandpa’s two dogs to feast on the treat.  When I tell you this was bad ice cream, I’m not kidding.  The dogs would not eat it and they would normally eat anything.  By the time more ice cream was mixed, frozen, and packed, I was ready again.  It took that long to get that awful buttermilk pineapple taste out of my mouth and mind.  The ice cream was really, really good this time.  My mother  and I enjoyed the ice cream more than anyone because the rest of the family didn’t get to experience the taste of the first batch.

This experience reminds me of Matthew 13:33.  “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”  The parable of the leaven that Jesus taught the disciples.

What does leaven represent:  Physically, leaven is a lump of old dough in a high state of fermentation, or a substance that causes dough to rise (yeast).  A natural reason for leaven’s negative symbolism is the idea that fermentation implies a process of corruption.  In the Old Testament, it is generally symbolic of sin and evil.  In every instance that leaven appears in the Bible, it represents evil; the only exception is Jesus’ use of leaven in this parable.  As we study this parable, we find that this is one of the few times Jesus uses leaven to represent a good thing.

Once we learn about the leaven, we arrive at the main point of this parable:  leaven will spread throughout all the flour changing all of it. 

Now, we apply this to the kingdom of God.  Leaven is a small but powerful change agent.  It only takes a little to affect a large amount.  We may be small in the kingdom of God, but we can have a powerful influence.  Also, this can refer to the work of the Holy Spirit Who works God’s will into every aspect of our lives.  Once that happens, we can’t go back.

If a little buttermilk has a great effect on ice cream, the Holy Spirit has a great impact on our lives and the lives of those around us.


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