Matthew 10:42 – And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward. (NIV 2011)
Matthew 18:10a – See that you do not despise one of these little ones. (NIV 2011)
Honeybees live in well-organized family groups where the survival of every bee, from the moment the queen bee lays her egg, depends on the combined effort of the entire colony. Worker bees clean and polish the cells, feed the brood, care for the queen, remove debris, handle incoming nectar, build beeswax combs, guard the entrance, and air-condition and ventilate the hive. Then, as field bees, they gather nectar, pollen, and water for winter survival.
How bees divide the labour baffles our minds, but we are certain that every task counts. Every single droplet of water given to a tiny larva contributes to the wellbeing of the colony. All effort is directed toward the goal of the survival and reproduction of life. No energy is wasted on diversions or any activity that hinders the propagation of life.
I've come to see the honeybee colony as an ideal picture of the church. Imagine the church functioning like the beehive, where every member is regarded as vital to the wellbeing of the church, where the community has an instinctive sense of its purpose. Here, every vulnerable "little one", whether young in age or in the faith, is protected and nurtured through the various roles fulfilled by one another.
Human beings don't possess the instinctive programming that bees do. We depend on the Spirit of God to birth Christ's life within and to transform each of us. God matures us through the functioning of our relationships. And we can be sure that, where the Spirit is at work, no little one will be neglected or misguided. After all, here the highest goal is the propagation and nurture of life — ultimately the life of Christ.
Prayer: O Lord, much of what we see under Your name has failed to produce and nurture life in Christ. Some of us have been among those little ones who were neglected or harmed. And we ourselves have unwittingly failed Your little ones. We now cling to Your promises of forgiveness and hope, and the ancient promise that You Yourself will rescue the lost ones and those who have been driven from You. Renew our passion to partner with You in this mission, that many will be healed and revived by Your sweet name. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "He Hideth My Soul" (Lyrics)