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What We Are Called to “Bee”

August 31, 2017 No Comment

Rev. Thomas Kruesel

by Thomas Kruesel

Last year I started keeping honey bees. I have one hive and about 18,000 bees. I find them absolutely fascinating. They are a joy to watch as they go back and forth in and out of the hive, bringing in pollen and nectar to strengthen and enlarge the hive.

Right about now my children will be rolling their eyes and groaning inside—“Bees again, Dad. Really?”—and my wife will be making that face familiar to all long-suffering wives—that “Really, I find this story as fascinating as the first 122 times I heard it” look. I hope you will indulge me as I share some fun bee facts: 1) Bees only weigh 1/10th of a gram each. 2) It takes twelve bees their whole life to produce a teaspoon of honey. 3) To make a pound of honey, the bees fly a combined total of approximately 80,000 km—or three times around the earth at the equator. 4) If bees were paid minimum wage, a pound of honey would cost two million dollars in wages.

My point? The honey bee is a small, seemingly insignificant being which accomplishes very little individually in its lifetime. But working with the other bees in the hive in one summer, they can raise approximately 250,000 new bees, start two to four new hives, and bring in over 100 pounds of honey! I well could have started this article with the words, “The kingdom of heaven is like a beehive…” It would be easy to write a parable using the picture of a beehive. We are the worker bees, and God has entrusted us with the work of building up the kingdom. The world is a dangerous place for a bee. And we, as God’s children, find ourselves in a world that is growing increasingly hostile to the Word of God, and people who believe that Word.

What can we do? Lutheran Church–Canada is such a small church. We don’t have that many members, and we are spread out mighty thin in Canada. Most of us are just regular folk, working hard to earn a living and support our congregation as best we can. With the increasing hostility we face in the world, we can be tempted to circle the wagons—to withdraw into the shell of our congregations, throw in the towel, and give up.

One thing I have never seen at the front of my hive is a bee sitting there, feeling sorry for itself because the world is a dangerous place and it can do so little to contribute to the health of the hive. Whenever possible, they are hard at work. No matter how bad things are outside the hive or how small a part each bee plays, they stay busy. They are about the work of the hive. Each bee may play a small part to be sure, but each one does their part and together they accomplish amazing things. What a beautiful picture of our place in God’s kingdom.

Each bee may play a small part to be sure, but each one does their part and together they accomplish amazing things. What a beautiful picture of our place in God’s kingdom.

Of course every parable falls apart when pushed too far. The parable of the Faithful Bee falls far short of describing our work in the kingdom simply because it is not our work. Nor is it our effort and ability that spreads God’s kingdom. It is God’s work, and He has promised to work in and through us, blessing our small, bee-sized efforts to spread the Gospel. He gives us the privilege of sharing our faith, often in small ways, with those around us. He calls us to be witnesses to God’s plan of salvation.

We can’t argue people into the Kingdom of God. But as witnesses to God’s goodness, we can share our faith with them, and entrust the real work of conversion to the Spirit. Jesus said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

And what is the power that we receive through the Holy Spirit? It is the power to do miracles: in particular to heal, and to raise the dead. It is the Gospel, whose power brings healing to broken hearts and gives life where death once ruled. It is the power of God himself! As Paul says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile” (Romans 1:16).

We need not fear the threats of this world. We need not give into despair, for God has called us, promised to sustain us in all things, and work in and through us to enlarge his kingdom. Remember the little bee, and remember Him who calls you to “bee” His.

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Rev. Thomas Kruesel is Second Vice President of Lutheran Church–Canada.