God, Jesus ingredients that transform lives

By Judy Brandon: Religion columnist

A childhood friend of mine visited an upscale, gourmet bakery in New York City. She was fascinated with the variety of breads she found displayed there.

Bread was in various shapes and textures. There was black pumpernickel bread and white potato bread, and hundreds of varieties in between.

Some breads were twisted — some sprinkled with different seeds, some in loaves, rolls and shells. There was flat bread and thick bread. Some bread was actually baked in a can that was submerged in boiling water.

A buyer could order a loaf of bread with his or her initials carved on the crust. French bread. Hungarian bread. Some bread was thinly sliced while another variety was pulled apart. Some varieties were sold out as soon as they were taken from the huge ovens. Other varieties were less appealing to the customer.

What an array. The aroma. The display.

My friend said her trip to this chic bakery was worth the entire trip to New York. She patiently took a number and waited her turn, knowing a visit to this bread shop was worth the wait.

When my friend’s number was finally called, she asked a staff member how all of these recipes could be made every day?

It remained a puzzle to her how one small shop could produce such a variety of gourmet bread.

The staff member responded, “We start with a basic dough. It is actually a pile of tasteless nothing. We add yeast and that is where the variety begins. The yeast is the answer. It transforms a tasteless mass of wet dough to what you see displayed in our shop. We add different ingredients besides yeast, and those ingredients provide the variety.

“But the yeast is the change-maker. That meaningful mass of tasteless dough is no more and can never return to its previous state, thanks to adding yeast.”

My mind began to wander. I realized that an experience with Jesus is like adding the yeast to the bread — He is the change-maker.

Jesus added to a meaningless life filled with sin results in a changed life. Then we all take on different forms for the kingdom of God and each can influence the world with their uniqueness.

Some preach and some teach. Some are helpers and no one really ever knows what they do but God knows.

Some are faithful prayers and pray for the kingdom of God and the world. Some are servants and spend their lives aiding others. Some are givers, blessing other people out of the abundance that God has given them.

Paul had some comments on this. He wrote: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor. 5:17) He likened believers as members of one body (Christ’s church) and all parts have different functions but all parts are essential. Paul wrote: “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. “(1 Corinthians 12:13-15)

Whatever the twist one puts on it, when Jesus is added to a life, the results are transformational. He changes us and transforms a meaningless life into one with meaning for all eternity. We are never the same as our old self.

That is the bread lesson from my friend’s trip to an upscale bakery in New York City.