After discussing sheep and shepherd, roots and grapes, today we talk about bees and honey as we discuss Part 3—The Land Flowing with Milk and Honey—in Scouting the Divine by Margaret Feinberg.
First of all, is this book making you wonder why you haven’t asked more questions? Maybe it is just me. But this book is helping me realize that if I asked more questions of people who have jobs different from mine, I could gain so much.
By the end of this section, I have fallen in love with the bee and view honey with more love and admiration than I had before. I’ve been mildly impressed with bees and knew the phrase “Queen Bee” and “Worker Bee.” I even knew about drones and hives and nectar. But the specifics? Not so much.
I took this photo several years ago at a State Fair
Having finished this chapter I scrolled back through photos on my phone to find it. Besides the fact that this honey has been judged and not all were deemed blue ribbon, I now notice this differences in color and consistency. I wish I could talk to the different bee keepers and find out what stories their honey holds.
Let me state the obvious: oh my word, there are so many types of honey and so many bees needed to make one pound of honey. I enjoyed learning more about the three kinds of bees: Queen, drone, and worker. It surprised me that a queen can live for three years! That seems rather long for an insect. And that on productive days she can lay more eggs than her body weight. What?! Humans and bees are so different.
What could we learn for our ministries if we had (and valued) all of these worker bees:
—Nurse bees who feed the older and younger larvae
—Fanning bees who keep the hive cool
—Queen attendants who feed and groom the queen
—Worker bees who feed the drones, seal the honey, build the honeycombs, pack the pollen, and carry water
—Mortuary bees who help keep the hive active by removing the dead bees and failed larvae
—Guard bees who attack invaders or thieves, inspect those returning to ensure they are fulfilling their duties, and monitor those entering the hive to be sure they are members of the colony
All working together, as Margaret said, to serve the higher purpose. Early we learned with sheep there is a lot of “flock drama,” doesn’t sound like much drama with the bees! I can see why God repeatedly refers to us as sheep, beloved sheep. But I can also see why bees and honey are in the Bible: look at what a team is takes to make honey. There is no one bee who makes honey. No, there are thousands working together.
While most of us aren’t part of an organization that involves thousands, we are all working together in a high purpose: to set captives free (including ourselves!) in and through Christ.
Then Gary explained that in part to keep his bees alive he has moved them around. Starting in Colorado, where the winters are chilly, they shipped them to California to work in almond groves and then to Texas to be exposed to an early spring. Prior to reading that section, I had the image of bees and a beehive that stayed in one place. My vision was probably too idyllic with kids stepping straight out of the 1800’s, but I had not thought of them bouncing around in the back of trucks, trying to stay alive.
Cross-cultural workers are also like bees. There has been some political decisions in a large country in Asia that has many wondering what the future holds. Just as the bees cannot control the weather, we cannot control many aspects of our environment and may have changes foisted on us that we do not want. Even though bees don’t have feelings and may not understand what is going on, being driven around the country to find more suitable conditions, we can learn from them.
We have just celebrated Easter! The ultimate life from death story. Sometimes, for us to live, we must die to a certain calling, role, or location. It is not easy. And the cost is real, but if we remember we are like bees in that they serve the higher purpose, we can trust that God has life for us on the other side of the decision that needs to be made.
And then we get to one of my great loves, seeing scripture from a different angle. I will admit I had not thought much about the honey Sampson found in the carcass of a dead lion. Interesting to hear that bees will build a hive in “almost any hole.” I also enjoyed hearing more about the phrase “land flowing with milk and honey.”
“God promised his people a land where everything was in top working order. This land was a land abounding in fruitful pastures and efflorescent vegetation. This was a land functioning in its proper, God-designed rhythms. The result was natural abundance. The description ‘overflowing with honey’ offers a glimpse into what God desires and promises us all—an invitation for us to taste and see that the Lord is good.”
Have any of you kept bees? Or had relatives who keep them? What have you learned from bees? What are your favorite honey verses? I look forward to our sweet conversation in the comments! (Next week we will read Chapters 5 and 6 in Humble Roots.)
Reading plan for Humble Roots and Scouting the Divine:
March 6—The intros to the two books (Wonderment in SD, Sowing Seeds in HR)
March 13—Part 1 (The Good Shepherd) in SD
March 20— Chapters 1 and 2 in HR
March 27—Chapters 3 and 4 in HR
April 3—Part 3 (Land of Milk and Honey) in SD
April 10—Chapters 5 and 6 in HR
April 17—Part 4 (The Vine) in SD (Retreat this weekend!)
April 24—Last week was retreat so to have time to focus on the retreat, no extra reading his week. We will have a Get to Know and get back to reading this week. Also, I will announce the summer reading!
May 1—Chapter 7 in HR
May 8—Chapters 8 and 9 in HR
May 15—Part 2 (The Harvest) in SD
May 22—Chapters 10 and 11 in HR
May 29—We made it! Two books read in tandem we will review and have a Get to Know