Colony Collapse Disorder

Saturday, July 27, 2013
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Listen while you read: "Saviour Like A Shepherd Lead Us"1 (Lyrics)

Ezekiel 34:12a – As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. (NIV)

We've been hearing alarming reports on the disappearance of honeybees around the world. Bees leave their hives, never to return. It's called colony collapse disorder. The hives cannot be sustained in the absence of worker bees, and eventually they collapse. This crisis threatens the livelihood of beekeepers, and, in fact, it threatens the entire human race. Much of our food depends on bees for pollination.

This loss of bees reminds me of the loss of people from churches, especially our once-mainline churches. We, too, may be experiencing colony collapse disorder. People depart and never return, leaving fewer to sustain the "hive" and nurture the next generation — and also to serve as a moral compass for society.

Ezekiel experienced a similar crisis in his day. In chapter 34, he paints a bleak picture of ancient Israel, describing them as sheep wandering away from the flock and becoming food for wild animals as a result. Yet within this dismal depiction, Ezekiel plants an astonishing message of hope in today's verse.

I suspect that if Ezekiel was living today he would use bees as his metaphor rather than sheep. We can relate to bees. We know that they are being weakened by disease, parasites, and inadequate food supplies. Many believe that their navigation is disrupted by insecticides, and so bees can't find their way home. People have similar troubles.

In Ezekiel's day, no one bothered to search out the lost to bring them home and provide proper care. They were left vulnerable, easy prey for predators and parasites. Their "navigation" systems got disrupted by harmful influences, and so they couldn't get home. Today, we might point to influences such as consumerism or individualism. And we cannot deny the lack of spiritual nurture.

Really, this is the plight of human sin: being lost and unable to find the way home to our heavenly Father. Ezekiel would have encouraged us with words about our heavenly "Beekeeper" rescuing His lost ones. God Himself promised to care for His own and watch over His precious "colonies". It's happening around the globe. Countless ones are being brought home and healed — restored to the Father through Christ's salvation. His Church will never go extinct, no matter what happens in our churches — or in the honeybee population.

Prayer: Dear Father, as we ponder the threats of loss, our eyes are fixed on You, the God of all comfort. We remember that You are the "Chief Beekeeper" and will never abandon humanity. Help us see You at work around us and within us. May our trust in You grow stronger as we look ahead with joyful expectation of a new home, where there will be no more loss, grief, or tears. Amen.

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About the author:

Diane Eaton <>
Paisley, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Good analogy Diane.

    Thank you Diane. A great analogy!

    Thank you Diane. Beautifully put.

    Thank you so much. A great anology and a needed lesson for us all. God bless you and yours.

    Thank you for the devotional you wrote for today, “Colony collapse”. I found is a very apt metaphor for declining congregations. It focuses my prayers for the renewal of the church. God bless.

    Good morning Diane! Thanks for the inspiration!! Very meaningful for my church. I forwarded a copy to all the Session Members.
    Thanks again.

    Good morning Diane,
    Your name came up in the Daily Devotions but I noticed that it said you are from Kincardine!
    I hope all is well with you and yours. I am enjoying life in the Village.

    The drop in attendance should set alarm bells off for everyone. We are not getting the young people today.

    Hi Diane,
    I have sent this devotional on to my son. Your analogy is spot on and your prayer at the end offers the best remedy…to take it to the Lord in prayer.

    Thank you for being like a “good scouting” bee to source out and share this “nectar” for thought and inspiration. May we take heed of the plight of the bees and turn to Lord for our source of food both now and forever more.
    God’s blessings.

    Scary stuff about bees. Thank God that even if we are initially scared, He is there to take care of us and alleviate our fears. Thank God that we are awakened to our faults, and invited to confess those faults and will always have His forgiveness.

    Hi Diane,
    The timing of this devotional really amazed me. It was an excellent analogy, but it also came just as I was considering writing about the bees surrounding me, both literally and experientially. God’s timing is certainly awesome. He confirms His will so definitely that we cannot question that it is of Him not a mere coincidence.
    A great devotional.
    Bless you.

    Dear Diane Eaton,
    Thank you for your devotional, “Colony Collapse Disorder.”
    Let’s pray for a healing of the people that will bring the Good Spiritual Health of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ to our churches.
    For Jesus sake, Amen.
    Keep writing.

    Thanks Diane. I weep for my grandchildren and great grandchildren scattered in different provinces. Even those in the same province and the same city rarely see each other and are not going to church or Sunday School. Facebook helped for a while to get to know some, but now it is slow and few are using it. What nurturing and teaching from the Word can I do? What new ways can we find for Christian shepherding of dear ones who don’t know they are lost and don’t know they are missing great blessing? Has anyone principles on making content meaningful and appealing?

    Thank you Diane – beautifully put.

    Hello Diane. A lovely analogy. Thanks for sharing.

    Thanks Diane, Excellent words.
    So good to have read the end of the book and know that Jesus is Lord.

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