The queen is dead!

Those worker bees in the yellow hive were not taking as many “orientation flights” as they used to do. Hmm … that’s suspicious.

Yes, we keep bees. Or as some of the more experienced (and skeptical) beekeepers put it, we are “bee have-ers.” We have bees. Whether we can keep them remains to be seen! There are parasites and diseases now that were unknown when my Grandpa kept bees. He just kept them; up there on the hill, in front of the pink rambling roses, out of our way — until we stepped on them with our bare feet in the clover-filled lawn.These days we have to worry about everything from small hive beetles to horrible diseases that can live in the woodenware for up to 40 years. Even the wild bee population is declining rapidly.

Even with diligent maintenance and costly treatments, there are risks that are unavoidable. The yellow hive succumbed to such a risk, and became “hopelessly queenless.”

In this case, the colony has no eggs or young brood that the workers can make a queen from, since a queen’s reproductive apparatus is formed very early by giving the baby bee (larva, actually) special food and treatment.

It is thought that the only thing this helpless, hapless hive can do is to produce its own genetics for other hives to benefit from, so some of the little worker bees start laying unfertilized eggs. These eggs become male bees, not worker bees.

Laying workers is a phenomenon that happens when the one thing that unites and sustains the hive is missing. The queen not only is the mother of all the bees in a colony, but her presence gives them a purpose. While it is not true that the queen rules the hive, her absence will cause general malaise, confusion, futile behavior, and eventually the death of the hive.

There could be multiple reasons the queen is gone. But the workers cannot and should not do the job of the queen.

The hive dynamic becomes skewed when only drones are made, as they take resources and do no work. The pest problem cannot he handled. The colony gets weaker and either succumbs to the elements or the unchecked parasites, or in the best case scenario, dies when the worker bees slowly age and die without producing offspring. 

Honeybees are made to do a job, and they’re amazingly good at it! The queen makes new bees, the workers sustain the hive with sustenance, and when the colony gets big enough they make an extra queen and divide into two or more colonies. The best beekeepers help them along in this, and get some honey for their labors.

Without this continual expansion however, the bee colony fails and dies.

It would be well for us to take a lesson from the bees. Our purpose in the church is to increase spiritually; not just by fending off spiritual predators and disease, but also by increasing our numbers.

A healthy church is a growing church. Sure, sometimes we outgrow the buildings we meet in, and have to find new “woodenware” in the form of church plantings. That’s great!

Or are we simply so proud of our DNA (our so-called “heritage”) that we only produce drones who do no work but are there just for the sweetness?

On an individual level, are we also producing new Christian workers? Unlike the bees, we don’t need to wait for our “leader” to do this. It is said that if you don’t grow, you die. Let’s not let this happen to the Lord’s church.

Share your thoughts: