Uncommonly Common


Jesus was a master teacher who understood his audiences well. He knew the easiest way to learn a new concept or term was to relate it to something familiar. His listeners worked in the fields and around their houses, so when he began to talk about the kingdom of God, he compared it to ordinary items. In today’s passage, Jesus used common, household things to illustrate how something seemingly insignificant could have a multiplied impact.

  • What is something that was easier for you to understand once you compared it to something familiar?
  • Where have you seen seemingly ordinary people or things used for extraordinary purposes?


18 He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”

20 And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. To what did Jesus compare the kingdom of God (vss. 19, 21)? What happened to the mustard seed once it was planted (vs. 19)?
  2. Yeast is a kind of leaven that makes baked goods rise. What did the leaven do to the flour (vs. 21)?
  3. What were some similarities between the mustard seed and the leaven? What difference did they make once they were used? 
  4. In what ways is the kingdom of God like the mustard seed and the leaven?
  5. What are things about you that you might think are common, simple, or ordinary that God could use to impact others?


The mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds, yet it grows into a tree that provides a home for the birds. And leaven almost disappears once it’s mixed with flour, yet its effect is to cause the dough to expand, rise, and ultimately become bread that nourishes people. God’s kingdom is like that: It spread through the son of a carpenter and a band of ordinary people. Yet this kingdom of God continues to grow even now, centuries later, and has a powerful, eternal influence on all who see and believe.

  • Thank God for how he uses common items and regular people like us to show himself to the world.
  • Ask God to use your seemingly ordinary abilities for his extraordinary purposes.