What part do you play?

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)

Have you ever considered honeybees? Did you know they are raised to be harvested for the commercial market of honey distribution? There are more than the 'wild' forms of bees, but I didn't know that until I saw a show describing the process of how they are 'raised' for the sole purpose of the 'honey harvest'.  They are 'raised' 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. 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. We all serve God with a purpose, and it is important for us to fulfill that purpose.

The beekeepers provide a framework upon which the bees can build their hive. It is a simple wood frame, mounted inside 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 a safe place for them to go about their "bee business". God also provides a framework upon which we build our lives - staying within this framework provides a place of safety and protection. 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 in order to do their part. 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.

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 go about their task with consistency from day to day. We don't have to do it all, we just have to do our part. The worker bees "digest" the pollen into a nectar in order to put it 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. Remember, there will always be those who depend upon us doing our part to ensure they have what they need to develop.

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. We all need a place to develop, and God has provided this for us in our local church family and small groups. There is nothing wasted from the hive - even the beeswax is useful in the making of candles, balms, and the like. The initial 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. The people of God are to be light-givers and provide places of healing for those who need it. 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, a scent that drives the bees deeply into the hive. Why? To protect them as he enters. 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! We all benefit from the 'hive' and we each have a part to play within it. What is produced is a thing of beauty when we are all doing our part. Just sayin!

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