By Trevor Wright
We had unexpected, uninvited guests at our place one day, recently. Thousands of them. A swarm of honey bees made a new home in a tree fuchsia, hanging there like some giant rugby ball. We had some rough weather that night, with strong winds and rain. When the morning came thousands of these little ones were dead on the ground.
I am told there is no such thing as an individual bee. They are only part of a larger unit, and cannot survive alone. Like cells that make up our bodies, each bee is only part of the greater. Those dead little remains deprived the swarm of willing workers, which could be replaced, and kept the queen protected and capable of reproducing more workers. I took pity on these wonderful examples of God’s workmanship and made a little wooden home for them to live in, where they would be protected from the elements, and able to express their purposes.
We, as Christians, are a bit like bees (in fact, people are heard to talk about those born-again bees!) and Jesus showed us the way Matthew 16:24 (The New Living Translation): “Then Jesus said to the disciples, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me.’”
Our place in the greater scheme of things, then, is not to bring satisfaction to ourselves, nor even to view God as some gracious Father Christmas spoiling us in our every whim, but to honour the greater: God, the Father. Jesus, our Saviour. We are, in this picture, expendable, just like those worker bees. And to God be the glory. When Jesus called us to follow Him, He asked us to take up an instrument of death to our self-serving ambition and carry it in such a way as to fulfil the greater purposes of God’s will and way.
I end by quoting Mother Teresa: “People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centred; forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; be happy anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; give the world the best you’ve got anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway.”