Wednesday, January 21, 2015

An early morning lesson or two

I like watching those shows on TV that show you how things are made.  I think the process of manufacturing items we use everyday is kind of fascinating - seeing how you go from raw product to packaged, or watching a craftsman take a piece of raw material and turn it into a beautifully designed object.  I caught an episode yesterday which captured my attention, but really didn't speak to me until the wee hours of this morning.  I had a hard time sleeping last night, but when I was awakened by a very clear, and very loud man's voice simply calling my name, I listened!  You see, I don't have a man in the house, so hearing the voice kind of rattled me a little!  I thought maybe my mom had passed and I was being awakened to find she had gone on to be with Dad, or perhaps she just needed me and it was God's way of waking me up.  It might sound a little weird to you, but whenever this happens, I usually just cannot go back to sleep.  It is often with good reason, because God begins to speak to me in those wee hours!  True to form, he did so last night, taking this one segment out of the TV show and giving me little tidbits of teaching I might just "chew on".  The show was about honey bees and how they are raised to be harvested for the commercial market of honey distribution.  Yet, when God spoke to me about it, I saw many an object lesson which describes how it is God designed each of us - as members of a colony of workers, each with a task our own, but with the undivided purpose of laying up stores and stores of sweet stuff for those who would come behind.

You have been my teacher, and I won’t reject your instructions. Your teachings are sweeter than honey. They give me understanding and make me hate all lies. (Psalm 119:102-104 CEV)

Here are but a few of the object lessons I saw in this story of the  honeybees:

1. The bees each have a function - whether they be the "queen bee" who lays nearly 2,000 eggs a day, the "gathering bees" who go out day after day to the fields to gather in the pollen, or the "worker bees" who work endlessly creating the hive and storing up the honey - they all have a function.  Those who don't do their part are pushed out of the hive - there is no place for "dead weight" in the thriving hive.  Lesson one:  We all serve a purpose and it is important for us to fulfill that purpose.

2. The bees build their hives upon a framework which is provided for them.  The bee keepers provide a framework upon which the bees can build their hive.  It is a simple wood frame, mounted inside those upright boxes of wood or plastic.  The bees start at the edge and work inward until the hive is formed in each section of the hive box.  This framework produces an safe place for them to be about their "bee business".  Lesson two:  God provides a framework upon which we build our lives - staying within this framework provides a place of safety and protection.

3. The bees all work together - in their particular function and in unison.  To look upon the clustering of bees and frenzy of activity might just give one the impression there is no real organization to what they are doing, but in truth it is quite the opposite.  Even with one bee crawling over the next, they are all working together, one providing what the next requires to do their part.  Lesson three:  Life gets messy and a little chaotic at times, but when we are all working together, fulfilling our purpose, we "add" to each other's lives in a very special and unique way.

4. The "gathering bees" don't actually get to partake of the finished product - they simply bring in the pollen which is taken from them by the worker bees.  The hive would be devoid of food for the next generation if these "gathering bees" didn't bring in the nectar and pollen. They may not get to enjoy the end product of their labor, but they sense the importance of it and are about their task with consistency from day to day.  Lesson four:  We don't have to do it all, we just have to do our part.

5. The worker bees "chew up" the pollen brought back by the gathering bees - they actually "digest" the pollen into this nectar in order to put in the tiny cells of the hive.  Then they all fan their wings to help evaporate the water which remains in the nectar, reducing it to the richest of honey we find deep within the hive.  Without this process, the pollen would be useless - it has to be broken down into the nectar in order to be useful to the young bees hatching deep within the hive.  Lesson five:  There are those who depend upon us doing our part to ensure they have what they need to develop.

6. The purpose of the hive is for replication and feeding - as a safe place for the queen to lay her eggs and the young to mature, the hive provides much more than a place of making honey.  Lesson six:  We all need a place to develop and God has provided this for us in our local church family and small groups.

7. There is nothing wasted from the hive - even the beeswax is useful in the making of candles, balms, and the like.  The intended purpose of the wax was for the housing of the nectar and the nurturing of the young.  The end purpose of the wax is to give light and bring soothing to those in need of healing.  Lesson seven:  The people of God are to be light-givers and provide places of healing for those who need it.

8. The bees can be frightened and tricked - so the beekeeper warns them he is entering the hive and keeps them from being hurt.  The smoke he uses is a warning he is entering and there is even this "cap" they put over the top of the hive which smells of apples, a scent that drives the bees deeply into the hive.  Why?  To protect them as he enters.  Lesson eight: God's presence can alarm the unaware, so he comes in gentle and palpable ways.  It is as though his very presence produces a scent of grace and peace!

Now, you take what I "chewed on" this morning and see what God gives you from the hive today.  Just chewin!

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