Enjoying some quiet time in the memorial garden at Guildford Cathedral, I paused to admire the old-fashioned roses with their beautiful pink blushes. Movement and noise attracted my lens- a honeybee was relishing an ecstatic experience!
My photo shows the bee about to head off home. What you can’t see is the enthusiastic work that happened a few seconds earlier. The bee was gathering pollen and nectar by doing an interpretative-dance-plus-gymnastics. No decorous sipping for this bee: writhing, rolling, creeping, crawling, pouncing… it must have been a prime site for worker-bee support.
Almost as soon as this bee vacated the site, another type of bee (like a small bumblebee) dived into the rose and performed its own version of the same dance!
I don’t think I have ever seen happier bees- they were absolutely enjoying their job.
We had gone to the Cathedral as a group of men from our church to appreciate the architecture and atmosphere of a big worship centre. Out the back they have some memorial gardens, a small labyrinth, and a huge oak Cross. Taking the time to savour the experience, we wandered through the gardens and prayed; some of us sat peacefully. Others listened to the birdsong (and the distant chatter of excited 10/11-year-old children moving in and out for their “Leaver’s Service” before preparing to step up to senior school in September).
I wonder who had the highest job satisfaction? The cathedral clergy directing the children in worship? Teachers herding their charges and looking slightly harassed? Or a group of gentlemen of mature years out on a jolly?
My guess is the bees.
They were doing precisely what they were called to do, “created to bee” if you’ll pardon the pun. Scent and sweetness guided their efforts, and someone somewhere one day is going to enjoy honey for tea made by the bee.
Finding contentment in our life-labours isn’t always easy. Circumstances, colleagues and challenges may inspire, bore, or dismay us. Only when we learn the secret of satisfaction in the “me” God made me to be, when we labour for a purpose, with a sense of value, appreciation, and approval- then we have job satisfaction.
At Creation, God declared “It is good!”
On the Cross, Jesus cried “It is completed!”
One day, I will be face-to-face with the Lord: and He will make comment on my service and on my (sometimes feeble) trust & obedience. My hope is that He will say “Well done, good and faithful servant… despite all your mistakes, quirks and failures.”
I reckon THAT will be a moment when my “dance” will make those bees look bored!
Lord, all I have is Yours, all You have given me I return to You, and all my hope is centred on Your compassionate and faithful Love. All of my serving as a minister, a Christian, an imperfect man- so much of it has been a delight and a privilege. “Surely, Lord, You could have found a firmer rock than me…” (Song by Paul Field)
To quote a favourite Graham Kendrick song, “I have placed all my trust in a Crucified Man.” There is my hope, not just for job satisfaction, but for eternal joy and fulfilment.
Thank You, Lord, for allowing me to be part of Your Kingdom of joy, grace, mercy and peace. Who’d have thought a busy bee and a sweet briar rose could be so instrumental in forming a reflection on life as a believer. Two bees or not two bees…