When someone asks you to help with a task. Or, when you volunteer to help. Why are you doing it, what’s your true motivation? Will it profit you? Do you ponder the benefits for you, or is it truly an unselfish sacrifice? Being busy doesn’t always mean that you are serving others. For me, it helps to ask myself - would it help if someone did this for me, am I truly helping someone, or is this all about me?
A Servants Heart
Bees are a wonderful example of God’s design of individuals with a servant’s heart. All day long, Bees gather pollen, build hives, and produce Honey; not just for themselves, but for the entire hive, and us! All so that the hive and their Queen will prosper and flourish. There’s never any disagreement over the proper flower to acquire pollen from. No fighting over the correct specifications of a honeycomb. And certainly, no dissention in the ranks about serving their Sovereign Queen.
Imagine the chaos if each Bee had their own agenda. ... “I’d rather build a seven-sided honeycomb, it would be much more stable.” “Let’s find red flowers instead of those ugly yellow things, they make me FEEL so awkward.” “The Queen doesn’t understand the Workers; she is so greedy.” Nothing would get done and there would be NO honey. Some say that “the Needs of the Many, outweigh the needs of the few”.
Often using the synchronization of a Beehive to justify the merits of a collective society, like socialism. History has shown socialism doesn’t work. Sadly, in a true socialist system there is no thought for the individual. The “many”, set all the rules, tasks, and goals. Considering only the needs of the many, and not the individual, breeds discontent throughout. Echoes of “what about me” grow from whispers to shouts. All the sacrifice, pain and anxiety fall on the shoulders of the individual, while all the benefits seem to only find their way to the leaders.
Inevitably, absolute power corrupts, absolutely, flipping the once benevolent intent on its head. The selfishness and greed of the leaders typically leads to “The Few benefiting (greatly) from the Many”. Why doesn’t the same thing happen in the Beehive?
By God’s design, individual Bees have an intuitive Servant’s Heart. With each Bee treating every individual as they want to be treated, the collective, takes care of itself. In the hive, individual needs are taken care of; gone are all thought of self, and the perceived rewards of serving oneself. Instead, with each Bee treating other individuals as they want to be treated, the community thrives! They all get Honey, and so do we!
Take Care of the Brick ...
... and the Wall will Take Care of Itself
Back in the sixties, there was a young teenage boy in London, struggling to learn to play the guitar. At thirteen, he so wanted to be the next rock star like his idols in the United States. Every day he would practice on an old guitar that his Grandparents gave him. Hours in front a mirror, guitar in hand, thinking of that inevitable performance for thousands of adoring fans. If he could just capture the style of Carl Perkins, Scotty Moore (Elvis’ guitar player), or traverse the wonderful melodies and lyrics of Robert Johnson, his life would be wonderful. He worked diligently for hours every day to play songs from start to finish without error. An extreme perfectionist, the young boy was so hard on himself that his demand for excellence squashed his resolve for fame. Soon the young guitar player gave up. His dreams of grandeur crushed. Putting the guitar in the corner of his room. Disillusioned, he took a job as a bricklayer, working with his loving Grandfather who was a Master Bricklayer and had accepted the young teen as his new Apprentice.
Day after day, the young teen worked laying bricks, dutifully following his Grandad’s direction. After several long days of building a wall, brick by brick, frustration engulfed the young boy. Once again, self-criticism and perfectionism had overwhelmed him in shame and hopelessness. The walls built by the teen were awkward, misaligned and looked like they would fall over any minute. In contrast, the symmetrical walls built by his Grandad looked like they would stand for hundreds of years. On the verge of giving up, again, the boy tearfully explained to his grandfather his frustration with the walls, and how they were not the grand pieces of art he had envisioned while building them.
The master bricklayer, speaking as a loving Grandfather, simply said… …“Focus on the Brick, and the Wall will take care of itself.” With that, the boy began to build a new wall. Brick by Brick. Showering every drop of knowledge, love, and care into each individual brick. Paying close attention to every detail, one brick at a time. The teen was soon amazed at the beauty of the walls he built.
One day, with his new attention to detail, the teen was laying bricks when thoughts of that guitar in the corner of his room came rushing in. “That’s It!”, he yelled. “Focus on the Brick, and the Wall will take care of itself!”. He couldn’t wait to get home, pick up his guitar, and focus on the notes, not the songs!
At the ripe old age of seventeen, this apprentice bricklayer, young Eric Clapton joined a rock band. And the rest, like they say, is His story. Much like the bees taking care of the hive, as Eric began to focus on the specific notes, the songs took care of themselves.
Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
When we approach anything in life with a singular focus on us. That’s when problems begin. Frustration, disappointment, envy, low self-worth, and dissention. They are all born in our desires to please ourselves, to ensure that we FEEL good, and that others applaud OUR accomplishments. We should take a lesson from the Bees and Eric Clapton. When the focus is NOT on us, we empower and encourage others to be all God created them to be.
Isn’t that what Christ Jesus is teaching us when He tells us to “treat one another as we want to be treated.” God’s supernatural design of communities in the natural world are filled with individual servants. Can it be that bees have found the “Kingdom of God” that seems to elude even the most devout Christian?
“Treat others just as you want to be treated.”
- LUKE 6:31
With a Servant’s Heart, focused on loving others, we will find absolute peace and joy in our communities as well; void of individuals vying for position and grandeur. Instead, by focusing on other’s needs, all are served.
Always remember God knows your heart; your motivation is crystal clear to Him. No matter how much you clarify and justify your actions, He knows your heart. Be true to your heart, or as William Shakespeare wrote, “To Thine Own Self Be True”.
When asked what the two greatest commandments were, Jesus responded …
… “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
– LUKE 10:27
He didn’t say Love yourself above all others
“Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
– MARK 10:43-45
For those that might not know, Eric Clapton accepted Christ Jesus as his Lord and Savior in 1987 while in rehab, a devout Christian ever since. While Clapton led a tumultuous life early on, filled with Drugs and Alcohol, including several tirades of rage, hatred, and racism. Since 1987, he is forgiven, and has been a servant to others, continuing to play one note at a time.
“I had found a place to turn to …
… From that day until this, I have never failed to pray in the morning, on my knees, asking for help, and at night, to express gratitude for my life and, most of all, for my sobriety. I choose to kneel because I feel I need to humble myself when I pray, and with my ego, this is the most I can do.”
– Eric Clapton
Let Your Light Shine!
"Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works
and glorify your Father in heaven."
- Matthew 5:16 NKJV
Above All else …