This spring I learned more about bees than I’d ever known before. As a gardener, I am thrilled to see bees in my garden, but I didn’t understand their importance in my daily life until I attended a gardening seminar.
The speaker showed us a photo like this one, explaining how bees help produce the most desirable fruits.
Self-pollinated fruits are small and incomplete. Bee-pollinated fruits are full and luscious. I never understood why some of my raspberries look so misshapen until I realized my need to attract more bees to my garden.
I learned that bees come in hundreds of different shapes and sizes. God created bees in different ways, because they can work the flowers from different angles and gather more pollen. The more pollen gathered, the more fruits are borne. A typical apple tree depends on dozens of bee species to be fully pollinated and bear the best crop.
As I left the gardening seminar, I remembered this passage from Romans:
So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.
Romans 7:4 NIV, emphasis added
When I considered the bees’ work, I thought about how God uses all different kinds of people in his church to bear greater fruit. We belong to Christ, and he inspires us to work together as a team to bear fruit for his glory.
In this famous Bible passage, Paul teaches how we must value every member of Christ’s body:
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work…Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ…Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
1 Corinthians 12: 4-6, 12, 14, 15-27 NIV, emphasis added
When I skip church, I feel off-kilter because my fruit is not pollinated fully by God’s Word and Christian fellowship. Seeing the wonky raspberries helps me remember how important faithfulness is for my faith life, and how I need others to help me grow in faith and produce greater fruit for God.
So many people today are disconnected from the church. They believe, but they are going at it alone. Even though they don’t realize it, their fruit is limited in size and shape. Let’s invite them back into the body of Christ so they can bear greater fruit for God.
I also want to value others’ contributions to the church, even if they are different from my own. Taking this spiritual gifts test helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses. I compared it with other Christian friends and learned how much we need each other! I encourage you to take this test and identify your gifts, then share it with others so they will learn their role in the body of Christ.
Bees are valuable for their honey production and produce pollination. Bees also have much to teach us about our own fruitfulness in God’s kingdom.
Questions for reflection:
What have you learned about bees today that you didn’t know before?
Do you know your spiritual gifts? How do you use them to build up the body of Christ?
Join me again tomorrow as my blog series “Meeting God in the Garden” continues. In the meantime, check out a few of the other posts in this series:
Enjoy an excerpt on “A Time to Plant”
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