The Lesson Of The Bee


Not so long ago, I had a bee find its way into my bedroom. I don’t relish killing bugs, and less so bees, but this one was in my bedroom! What to do?

I ran through my options as I watched the angry little critter buzz to the top of the window screen, find no opening, and buzz back to the bottom. Again and again.

At last I figured out a way to avoid killing him. From the cupboard, I pulled down a goblet, then retrieved an envelop that fit nicely over top. I held the glass stem and approached the bee still bouncing against the screen in a futile attempt to zip outside.

In one quick move, I plopped the goblet over the wayward wanderer. As he flew into the bowl looking for escape, I slid the envelop between the screen and the lip of the glass. Got him!

Earlier he seemed mad. Now he buzzed with vicious frenzy.

Poor little guy, I thought. Wasting all that energy, so mad he’d sting me if I gave him the tiniest opening. Yet my only intention was to help him get exactly what he needed, the very thing he’d been looking for.

And then it hit me. So often I act just like that bee. I find myself in a mess of my own making and try furiously to free myself, often repeating the same futile steps over and over. Then, when things seem to get worse, not better, I rail against God, not realizing that He’s using the very circumstances I hate for my good.

How much simpler if I obeyed God and refrained from grumbling and disputing, if I trusted Him instead of blaming Him, if I turned to Him in dependence instead of away from Him in stubborn willfulness. After all, my buzzing about is no more profitable than was that little bee’s.

God, on the other hand, sees the big picture, knows what’s best, and has much more regard for me — love, actually — than I had for the miscreant I set loose from my bedroom.

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing,” Philippians 2:14 says. Now there’s a novel idea. 😉

What does me in, though, is what Paul says next:

so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world (emphasis mine).

By this one thing, refraining from grumbling or disputing, we will accomplish what Christ called us to do — serve as lights in the world, even the crooked and perverse world.

I’m thinking the first grumbling or disputing I need to eliminate is any directed at God. We’re so quick in our culture to say that it’s OK for us to rail against God. He understands. He forgives. He’s big enough to handle it. He knows what I’m thinking anyway, I might as well say it.

Actually, no. What I should do when thoughts of disgruntlement come into my mind, is confess them and seek God’s forgiveness.

Who am I to accuse God of wrong doing, or of falling down on the job, or of not keeping His promises? I’m really no different than an irate bee buzzing madly to get what I want, ignoring the helping hand stretched out toward me.

I don’t want to be that bee any more.

From the archives: this post originally appeared here at A Christian Worldview Of Fiction in August 2011. Somehow it escaped being one of the under-three-stars posts. 😉

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Published in: on May 20, 2014 at 7:52 pm  Comments Off on The Lesson Of The Bee  
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Grumbling And Disputing Revisited


Before I forget, I’m taking part in a blog carnival, a kind of blogger magazine in which submitted articles are collected and linked at a host site. My chosen carnival is the Christian Carnival, hosted this week by Thinking In Christ. The topics may vary, but all have one thing in common — the worldview of the author. It’s a great way to take a peek beyond our usual online circle to see what other people think and what they’re concerned with.

Grumbling, again??? You might think we covered this topic to completion.

Almost, though I think we could take a look at a lot of areas and spend some time thinking about how Philippians 2:14 applies. Such a short verse, so easy to read quickly and move on:

Do all things without grumbling or disputing

The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword

But when I take time to think about the implications, I am caught, pierced by the sharp point of the Sword of the Spirit.

We’ve already seen that we’re not to grumble against God, even though our circumstances seem to put us where we don’t want to be, and even if things seem to turn worse, not better, in the face of our prayers.

We’ve also considered that the “all things” of this verse preclude our grumbling against governmental authorities or against our church leaders.

If we wanted to stay on our response to those in a leadership role, we could talk about how we deal with our parents, our bosses, even our spouses. But this “all things” part of Philippians 2:14 doesn’t let us think the verse is only about how we’re to behave when we’re in a subordinate position.

No, we’re to be different from the world in all our interactions — with our neighbors when they have a party late on Saturday night, playing loud music well past bedtime. We’re not to grumble or dispute when a commenter to a blog post calls us names. We’re not to grumble or dispute when another driver cuts us off so that we end up slamming on the brakes and missing the next light.

Is this possible?

Are we to turn into doormats with a “Come one, come all, good foot-wiping available here” signs over our heads?

I don’t think so. I don’t infer that a prohibition against grumbling and disputing is also a prohibition against speaking our minds when we disagree. This is not the Bible’s “peace at all costs” policy.

Lots of other Scriptures convince me of this. We are to remove the wicked from among us (1 Cor. 5:13), for example, and we are to turn a sinner from the error of his way (James 5:20) — hard things to do if we are to avoid confrontation.

In his third letter John took on a member of the church in rather harsh terms:

I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church. (vv 9-10)

Paul held nothing back when he was warning against some of the professing Christians who proved false:

for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica … Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching. (2 Tim. 4:10a, 14-15)

These don’t sound like statements from doormats.

Here are a couple principles I can glean from these scriptures and others.

1) To obey God in this area of doing all things without grumbling or disputing does not require more self effort. It requires me to walk in Christ — to be so in tune with Him that I want to relate to others the way Christ would relate to them. And to rely on His grace and His power, not my own self-effort.

2) If I must speak about someone else’s wrong doing, it must be for some purpose other than vindictiveness.

3) If I am to confront someone regarding their sin, I must do so in love.

4) If I am to voice a different opinion from someone, I am to do so in humility.

I think that last point is critical. Paul brought up this issue of doing all things without grumbling or complaining right after writing to the Philippian church about being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intend on one purpose.

Those things could be achieved, he said, when believers didn’t think only of their own interests but of others, too. Ultimately, he said, be like Christ who was the epitome of humility, emptying Himself, taking on the form of a bond-servant, and eventually going to the cross. With all this in mind, then he said, do all things without grumbling or disputing.

Published in: on September 7, 2011 at 6:32 pm  Comments Off on Grumbling And Disputing Revisited  
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The Lesson Of The Bee


Not so long ago, I had a bee find its way into my bedroom. I don’t relish killing bugs, and less so bees, but this one was in my bedroom! What to do?

I ran through my options as I watched the angry little critter buzz to the top of the window screen, find no opening, and buzz back to the bottom. Again and again.

At last I figured out a way to avoid killing him. From the cupboard, I pulled down a goblet, then retrieved an envelop that fit nicely over top. I held the glass stem and approached the bee still bouncing against the screen in a futile attempt to zip outside.

In one quick move, I plopped the goblet over the wayward wanderer. As he flew into the bowl looking for escape, I slid the envelop between the screen and the lip of the glass. Got him!

Earlier he seemed mad. Now he buzzed with vicious frenzy.

Poor little guy, I thought. Wasting all that energy, so mad he’d sting me if I gave him the tiniest opening. Yet my only intention was to help him get exactly what he needed, the very thing he’d been looking for.

And then it hit me. So often I act just like that bee. I find myself in a mess of my own making and try furiously to free myself, often repeating the same futile steps over and over. Then, when things seem to get worse, not better, I rail against God, not realizing that He’s using the very circumstances I hate for my good.

How much simpler if I obeyed God and refrained from grumbling and disputing, if I trusted Him instead of blaming Him, if I turned to Him in dependence instead of away from Him in stubborn willfulness. After all, my buzzing about is no more profitable than was that little bee’s.

God, on the other hand, sees the big picture, knows what’s best, and has much more regard for me — love, actually — than I had for the miscreant I set loose from my bedroom.

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing,” Philippians 2:14 says. Now there’s a novel idea. 😉

What does me in, though, is what Paul says next:

so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world (emphasis mine).

By this one thing, refraining from grumbling or disputing, we will accomplish what Christ called us to do — serve as lights in the world, even the crooked and perverse world.

I’m thinking the first grumbling or disputing I need to eliminate is any directed at God. We’re so quick in our culture to say that it’s OK for us to rail against God. He understands. He forgives. He’s big enough to handle it. He knows what I’m thinking anyway, I might as well say it.

Actually, no. What I should do when thoughts of disgruntlement come into my mind, is confess them and seek God’s forgiveness.

Who am I to accuse God of wrong doing, or of falling down on the job, or of not keeping His promises? I’m really no different than an irate bee buzzing madly to get what I want, ignoring the helping hand stretched out toward me.

I don’t want to be that bee any more.

Published in: on August 30, 2011 at 5:43 pm  Comments (5)  
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