The nectar of wildflowers and clover are gathered on translucent wings to spin an amber liquid. They ride on the breeze of dawn to gather the thick syrup of blossoms. A single hive of bees can travel over 90,000 miles, to produce between 2-5 pounds of honey. That is the equivalent of three spins around the globe with their tiny wings stroking at over 200 beats per second. It’s practically impossible for humans to fully grasp the majesty and importance of bees.
I have a long-standing fascination-love and a healthy fear-hate for bees. The hate only comes if I get stung.
As a result of hanging over clumps of gold and burgundy flowers, crawling on my stomach, and generally looking ridiculous in my neighbor’s front yard and kneeling in her flowerbeds, for over an hour, this picture was captured.
(Thank you Lynette for all of those flowers!)
Now you know what some people have found out.
I will go to great lengths to capture a little wonder. Even then, this picture was more of an accident. I would focus and depress the button, causing my camera to snap photos in succession, at a high rate, and out of a rash of flower pictures this one emerged.
It is hard to freeze a moment in time, of insects being busy.
Just down the road from where I grew up, there was a honey farm. I really didn't understand what all the fuss was about. Those neighbors wore strange, white, moon-walking looking suits. The job was hard, the hours long, the pay low. They stacked and moved weathered boxes filled with bees to open fields of clover and in late summer they gathered them back up to begin harvesting their liquid gold.
That’s where I came in.
Equal parts of real butter and honey were whipped together and served with fresh baked biscuits alongside steaming bowls of soup in the chilly days of fall and all through winter months.
A few decades ago I began buying grain in fifty pound bags and milling my own wheat to make bread. Yes, that is a little crazy, in this busy world, but that is what started me on the honey craze. To make bread, essentially you need flour, a leavening agent, and a sugar. Honey makes whole grain products especially light and tender and is one of my favorite sweeteners to use for baking.
Honey never spoils.
We buy it raw from local beekeepers and right now the harvest is in full swing. It is a gift to be able to buy it before it has been processed.
It really is like gold, since a single bee, gives its entire life to produce 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey.
1/12 of a teaspoon.
A few golden drops.
That may not seem too significant.
What fascinates me is that honey bees never get up in the morning and wonder what their purpose is. They never look at another insect and wish they had their job instead. They never pause to think they have too much to do, too far to fly, too little time-.
They just give themselves - to the vital work they have to do.
We, as people, can learn from the laws of nature.
All of God's creation gives.
Birds give their songs, roses their beauty and scent, fields y the fruit of seed planted in them.
And the honey bee? That tiny insect whose life is spent yielding such a small amount of visible fruit, plays a critical role pollinating many agricultural crops and helping to maintain balance in our entire ecosystem.
What if they didn't do what they were made to do?
It is not overstating that there would be an entire breakdown in our food sources.
That is honestly how God's economy works.
We do what we were made to do and we see that work multiply itself in many ways.
If we contrast that to a life that is self-absorbed, one that is selfish and self-focused... there is a dying.
Not only to the person who doesn't give, but to the many who would have been blessed by that person spending themselves to do the things that only they can do.
There are different season in our lives, but they should all include giving ourselves away and working.
That is how we are hard-wired by God.
And friends, when we live this way, we are most fully alive, satisfied and a blessing to others.
This week there will be golden chances to give of ourselves to others. Once they pass us by, those opportunities are forever gone.
On the flip-side, when we take those moments and work or serve others, there is a reward. Not as in earning our way to God, but as in fulfilling our purpose and living life with meaning.
God's Word says that we can take that to the bank.