These warm winter days have made me long for Spring. I’m buzzing with excitement to begin our new venture as beekeepers…. Or “newbees.” Our lives as professional-baseball-gypsies was never conducive to settling in one spot long enough to tend to our own hives, though my folks have kept bees for some years now.
I’ve been told there is a difference between beekeeping and “bee-having.” Beekeeping requires some work: planning, assessment, action, and intervention, along with the occasional sting. Some start the bee-thing and then get too busy or may lose interest in the hobby. Those who do not work with their bees, anticipating their needs and assisting them to thrive are the “bee-havers” of the world.
This weekend, I traveled with my family back to the hills of Eastern Kentucky on roads cut through the coal-creased rock. There, on a steep hill amidst some somber songs and others of celebration, we gathered to lay my grandfather to rest.
During my last conversation with Popaw, I asked him what he had been up to. He dabbed his chronically teary eyes and joyfully said, “the usual…just working everyday!” I smile now thinking about the 94-year-old VA Retirement Home resident. He knew the true value of work.
Sometime in the late 1400’s, Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales and coined the phrase “busy as a bee.” Warm, sunny days are the best for observing honeybees. From a safe distance, one can see the constant comings and goings of the workers. At the entrance are “guard bees,” those sisters that are on constant alert for intruders and thieves. Once a day, drone bees (the fellas) go for a flight, but they otherwise hang out in the hive and consume lots of honey. Inside the hive, more ladies are taking care of the brood, and others are tending her majesty, the Queen. Everyone knows their job; and when everyone is able to do their job, the result is sweet… sweet honey!
Most of us are familiar with the Creation Story. God created everything in six days and on the seventh, He rested. God created man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it (Genesis 2:15). We are no longer in the Garden of Eden, but we are still called to work diligently and to tend to what we’ve been given (Colossians 3:23). One of the things we’ve been blessed with are these tired old bodies—rather, living temples to the one true God (1 Corinthians 6:19).
I’ve been blessed beyond measure, but one thing I often take for granted is my able body.
I refuse to just “have” this body… rather, I’m going to “keep” it… or tend to it. I’m going to feed it the Bread of Life and drink Living Water (John 6:35, John 4:14).
Then I’m going to use it: to love God and serve my neighbor.
And I’m going to work at it with all of my heart.
After all, I’ve known a good worker. Now, rest in peace, Popaw. We love you!
- The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Genesis 2:15 (NIV)
- Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. Colossians 3:23 (NIV)
- Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 1 Corinthians 6:19 (NASB)
- “I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again. John 6:35 (HCSB)
- But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. John 4:14 (NIV)
*Pictured are the seven gentlemen who fired the 21 Gun Salute at Popaw’s funeral. He served in the Navy during World War II.