Friday, November 5, 2010

Lessons From Bees

Tuesday night at 11 p.m. is a strange time to be running my hand up and down our living room wall, but that’s what I was doing on that August night. I was convinced I had found the source of a strange sound that had been haunting us for at least a month. There had been this purring sound in our living room (we don’t have cats)that we couldn’t figure out. It was a sound that was most evident later in the evening and it had gotten louder over time.

That night, my curiosity got the best of me. My suspicions told me it was a bee hive in the wall or attic. But that crazy sound got me so curious that I felt I needed to mess with it. Next to me was a curtain rod that I was supposed to have installed in our bathroom. Ignorantly, I decided to just gently tap the drywall near the sound hoping to see if the sound would change. To my shock, my gentle tap sent that rod right through the drywall. Apparently, bee hives do incredible damage to drywall and the only thing between me and the bee hive was a thin piece of paper and a layer of paint. The ceiling was quickly invaded by hundreds of yellow jackets. My wife rushed into another room as I hurried into the garage to retrieve a can of wasp spray.

Over the next few minutes, I soaked the ceiling with two cans of wasp spray, working my way to the four inch hole I had created with my curtain rod. Emptying the final can into the hive in the attic, I stepped back to survey the situation. Minutes before, I was contemplating a restful night in bed. Now I had poison dripping from the ceiling and walls, yellow jacket carcasses littering my floor and furniture, a gaping hole in the ceiling, and thousands of angry bees still in the attic trying to make their way through a poison-soaked hole. A small board and four screws secured the hole for the evening; and over the next hour, soap, a couple rolls of paper towels, and a broom took care of the mess.

Days later, I began to muse on some life lessons these bees had taught me. God began to remind me that our culture has an invasion plan for my life and home. Like bees, certain things in our culture invade gradually but with persistence. They slowly erode our protection until there’s very little between us and a dangerous and damaging situation. Then we find ourselves in a mess, asking how this all happened. But inside, we know we’ve allowed it to grow by ignoring it or through toying with and poking at it.

When Paul wrote to the believers in the churches in the Ephesus region, he fully knew the cultural dangers that would continue to invade the lives of the Greek believers. Ephesus was a city saturated with sexuality that was out of control. It was culture that offered a lifestyle of anything and everything— but never truly satisfied—leaving people lusting for more. This was the culture many of these new believers had come from. This was the culture that Paul was asking them to separate from.

Paul told the Ephesians to “put off the old” and “put on the new.” The “old” promises danger and damage. The “new” promises life and satisfaction. As you examine the world around you, where are you being invaded? What dangers are creeping on the other side of the wall, eroding your protection? What do you need to “put off”? Greed? The misuse of sex? Gossip? Lying? Bitterness? And, what can you “put on”? Contentment? Godly sexual desires? Kindness? Truth? Forgiveness? The dangers around us are real, but God always offers a way out— a way to safety and satisfaction.

This week's author- Phil Niekerk, senior small groups pastor

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