Nephew with swarm of bees caught last year at Michigan Camp meeting. Photo credit: Bryce Bowman
Over the past 15 years I have had what I believe to be a very fascinating hobby that I find great joy in: Beekeeping. I want to first put out a disclaimer that I am a novice when it comes to the art of keeping honeybees. The more I learn the less I seem to know. But this I do know – beekeeping has helped me to have a greater appreciation for our Creator God and the mighty and wonderful ways in which He works and wants to work in my life.
Just think about some of the details He put into the honeybee. They have 5 eyes and two stomachs. They beat their wings 190 times per second and can fly up to 15 miles per hour. They will travel 5-6 miles from their hive to gather nectar or pollen. They also communicate to each other through pheromones and with a simple “dance,” tell other bees where there is a nectar source, as far as six miles away. Honeybees are so industrious that they don’t sleep. Our Creator put all this ability and more into an insect with a brain the size of a sesame seed. Absolutely unBEElievable.
We receive many personal benefits from the honeybee. They pollinate our flowers and approximately one third of the food we consume. They produce honey for us to eat, and even their venom is used as a treatment for arthritis and high blood pressure. And did you know honey has antioxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and can be used as a wound dressing to promote rapid and improved healing?
Another thing that amazes me is the unity that honeybees exhibit and the amount they get done. In the summer, there can be 40,000-60,000 bees in one colony and yet they work as one. The harmony which they display is remarkable and what they can accomplish is outstanding. From the making of hexagon-shaped wax cells for the storing of honey and pollen, and as birthing chambers, to the gathering of nectar and pollen, and the making of honey. All of this is accomplished because they work in unison. It makes me think of Psalm 133:1, which says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”
What if we, as God’s remnant church, as stewards of His last day message, were to work with such unity? What if we were to stop fighting and quibbling among ourselves and simply start doing what our Creator has put into our hearts to do?
What if, instead of selfishly looking out for our own good, we would, like the honeybees, be willing to lay down our lives to defend and provide for the colony, the family, the cause of Christ?
By the Grace of God, may we learn the lessons of true unity and reap its results both now and for eternity.
Joel Nephew is stewardship director for Michigan Conference.