A favorite part of sitting on my deck in summertime involves watching and listening to all the creatures. Squirrels play in trees, sometimes rather aggressively. Birds chatter, often quite loudly. (Crows make A LOT of noise.) And, of course, lots of bugs are doing what bugs do.
Probably the most attention-getting are the bumblebees. Buzzing alerts me to their presence, and I like to know when bees are nearby. For the most part, though, we leave each other alone.
Bees fascinate me. Not only are they an impossibility (at least according to scientists), they focus on their work with undaunting devotion. While they like all my flowers, they especially like my lavender and lilac bushes.
Bees do what they do because of instinct, and I believe this instinct exists in humans too. The difference is that we can choose to ignore it, and bees cannot. With this in mind, consider that perhaps “busy as a bee” might get at Paul’s intent when he instructs us to “walk in” the good works “God prepared in advance” for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).
Follow my logic here. If God planned or prepared good works for us to complete long before we were even conceived, wouldn’t that make those good works sort of instinctive?
Now, I realize this doesn’t mean we are preprogrammed like bees to complete every detail of our lives. God certainly doesn’t want robots. However, His Word along with our individual gifts, talents, and interests certainly go a long way in providing a natural inclination as to where we should focus.
God planned “good works” for us to accomplish, He planned them “long ago,” and we are to simply – perhaps somewhat instinctively – “walk in” them (Ephesians 2:10). Why don’t we then?
Maybe we overthink what we are to do (I know I do), wishing God would be more specific. Maybe we get distracted by money, status, or success. Maybe we’re afraid, perhaps of failure or even of success.
Bees get distracted too, I’ve noticed, usually by us. Seems like they think we’re flowers sometimes, but we also sometimes disrupt their work (intentionally and unintentionally). Even when they do get distracted, bees fairly quickly return to their work (i.e., their purpose), not deterred for long.
In my almost daily observations of bees, three life lessons come to mind.
Busy Bee Lessons
- Deal with distractions, if necessary, then get back to work. When life gets overwhelming, sometimes it’s best to simplify and focus on being busy as a bee. When we focus on what comes naturally and move from one task to another without having to analyze and plan, we often find a natural flow the makes us productive like never before.
- Do what comes naturally instead of living in convenient confusion. Analyzing and planning are not necessarily wrong, but they can definitely stand in our way of making progress. They also work nicely as excuses at times. Sometimes, we need to rely on that which is already planned for us and simply walk in it.
- Follow God’s agenda instead of asking Him to bless your schedule. We need to remember to check with Him before planning our days. We need to find out what He planned for us and do our best to make His will our schedule instead of asking Him to bless our plans.
Perhaps this analogy doesn’t work perfectly, and the idea of our good works being instinctive doesn’t quite fit with how a bee stays instinctively busy. As I watch the bees wake up every morning, though, I can’t help but think about how applying their instinctive work ethic to the good works God planed for me long ago might be more effective than the desert wanderings where I so often find myself.