There is a new colony of bees in the Berglund backyard. We have dubbed it the “Republic,” referencing Ben Franklin’s warning, “If you can keep it.”
Yes, we are keeping bees, or at least making the attempt. The honey has been minimal so far, but one our goals has been to help save the declining honeybee population.
So when the call came in on the morning of the Fourth of July that there was a swarm of bees a few miles north of us, we moved quickly to rescue them.
We knew that there were no guarantees that they would stay where we put them. In fact, after doing just about everything that an experienced beekeeper might do, they did leave the hive within a few short hours.
After an hour or so of dividing themselves into two swarms and then reuniting again, they then merged and congregated on a small tree. This swarm is fickle! They had done that when we were collecting them, too.
After two attempts to put them into a hive that we moved directly below the tree branch, we gave up and asked another beekeeper to bring better equipment and take the swarm. By the time she arrived, half the swarm had moved into the hive!
This is so much like God’s people. We, as the church, sometimes mirror the nation of Israel as we follow Jehovah, settle in, then leave, then come back. The issues that entice us away from God are often just a “follow the crowd” mentality.
In the case of the bees, it may have been the case of having not one, but TWO queens in this swarm. We are aware that late season swarms like this can have multiple queens.
The nation of Israel was told by Joshua to choose!
“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” Joshua 24:15, NKJV.
In this case, there is only one viable option. Choose the Lord!
Jesus repeated the theme as it pertains to money. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). Money, of course, is not the only “god” we can choose over the true and living God. Status, career advancement, social causes, and pleasure are all things that often are chosen above God.
Late swarms like this one will usually fail, because the bees have difficulty choosing which new queen to follow and choosing a place to call home. We beekeepers can help their chances, but it’s still questionable as to whether they will grow large enough over the remainder of the summer to be able to make it through the winter.
We as Christians have a ruling monarch – the Prince of Peace, Christ Jesus. We have a home in God’s family, the church. During this time of social distancing, let us not be enticed by all the other distractions and lose our focus on how to survive this life without our souls falling victim to the wiles of Satan. He seeks to destroy us by dividing us and by keeping us looking for something better than what God has provided us.
Choosing God’s way is much sweeter.