Long ago in 1986, I took up a new hobby: beekeeping. I loved being around bees, learning their ways and of course enjoying the honey they produced. Moving to a new ministry area forced me to give it up, but years later in Australia, I once again took up beekeeping. It was during this time that at least 4 other people followed my interest in keeping bees, all of them quite passionately. These men have all taught other people how to keep bees and build hives, and this in itself is a great lesson and wonderful reminder of how we make and multiply disciples.
Among those 4 men was my son Tim, who has far surpassed me in experience as a beekeeper. This past weekend, Tim and I went to check his hives, and it was a thrill to get my fingers into a hive once again. The sound of bees buzzing and the amazing fragrance of honey, wax, and propolis was like medicine to my soul. Few things kindle my wonder for God's creation like a colony of bees.
We began searching for the queen in one of the hives. While the queen is a bit larger than the worker bees, she is often quite difficult to find among 50,000 other bees. But sometimes we find the queen by watching the other bees around her. Worker bees surround her majesty, giving her their full attention and serving her needs. It was then that the Lord spoke to my heart as I lifted out the honey-laden frames one by one: few people in this world find God by looking for him in isolation, but instead find Him in the context of devoted followers of Jesus. Consider this wonderful passage from 1 Peter 3.15-16:
But in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
Not only do unbelievers hear what we say, they watch how we live. Indeed, some of them are looking for the King. Those with God-prepared hearts will find the Savior when we as believers express our genuine love for Him in word and in deed.