We have always had a love-hate relationship with the honey bee. Honey is a delight to our taste buds, but getting stung by the producer of this sweet liquid can be a traumatic event. For most of us, our knowledge about this insect revolves around the bees gathering pollen to make the honey for their hives, and we’ve learned how to harvest that honey over the centuries. For centuries, monasteries engaged in beekeeping in order to utilize the beeswax for the many candles they needed and the honey for food preparation and medicinal purposes.
Recently, there was a documentary on PBS that examined a troubling trend around the globe.
In the winter of 2006, a strange phenomenon fell upon honeybee hives across the country. Without a trace, millions of bees vanished from their hives. A precious pollinator of fruits and vegetables, the disappearing bees left billions of dollars of crops at risk and threatened our food supply. The epidemic set researchers scrambling to discover why honeybees were dying in record numbers -- and to stop the epidemic in its tracks before it spread further. – PBS, Silence of the Bees
Most of us would be saddened upon hearing this, thinking that we might have to give up one of our favorite culinary delights. But the impact of this global extermination goes far beyond what we put on our toast in the morning. The agriculture of the entire world depends on this tiny insect. No pollinators – no plants – no food – worldwide famine. If you thought our planet was fragile before, well, the ice just got a little thinner.
I can’t help but be (no pun intended) amazed that God would create such a small creature that would have such an enormous impact on all of creation. For the most part, we go about our lives completely oblivious as to the role of the honey bee’s contribution to our “daily bread”. Such unawareness of the delicate balance in God’s creation is a reminder to me that He often uses the very small, the very weak, and the seemingly insignificant to have a tremendous impact in His kingdom. We are easily impressed with the strong, the verbally gifted, the over achiever, the highly intelligent. We may feel we don’t have much to contribute and that no one sees our efforts to reach out, to love, to show kindness to others. In God’s kingdom, no one is insignificant and even the smallest gesture or word can have eternal consequences in the lives of others.
The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. (Matthew 13:31,32)