On the Iowa prairie where I live, the most humbling hobby I tend is as a beekeeper. This is my 6th year of beekeeping so you would think I would have a few things ironed out. But, instead, I am among the ranks of beekeepers with multiple years of loss, disappointment, hard work that nets little, and a lot of mystery.
A few years ago I attended an all-day beekeeping workshop with a well-known, popular Nebraska-based beekeeper. The small-town community center room of 400 or so, was “abuzz” waiting for Michael Bush to begin. Many of us had notepads and writing instruments poised for instruction.
When a very unassuming Michael took the stage and the room quieted, he led with these statements: “I know most of you are here to learn the secrets to success with your bees. It’s not about you. Bee colonies are just like human families. Some are smarter than others. Some make good decisions. Some make bad decisions. Some have a smart queen. Some don’t. It really has very little to do with you.”
This experience has been re-surfacing in my thoughts the last couple of weeks as I work my bees and as we have been writing and thinking about what is required for adults to grow up–to develop into mature Christ-followers. My concern is that I may be making it too much about myself and overlooking God’s power always at work.
The Parables about the Seed
Jesus talked about this in Mark saying,
The Kingdom of God is like when a farmer planted seeds in a field, and then he went on with his other activities. As the days went by, the seeds sprouted and grew without the farmer’s help, because the earth produces crops on its own.
The Kingdom of God is like a tiny mustard seed. Though this is one of the smallest of seeds, it grows to become one of the largest of plants…
For all the good work we do at VantagePoint3, we have done enough research, and hear enough stories from adults who participate in our processes to know that the number one reason an adult takes part in one of our small groups is because of a “hunger, thirst, or unsatisfied desire” that the Lord has stirring within them.
When that master beekeeper told me that the success of my hives had very little to do with me, I was at first startled, and then relieved. I put my pen down. I relaxed. I listened.
For those of us who take seriously the task of helping others GROW UP in Jesus’ name, I wonder if we might also put our pens down and relax more? Might we listen to Jesus’ heart for us individually and collectively?
Might we trust the biblical testimony that God is, in reality, already up to something good all the time? (Watch our recent What Matters Most Conversation around this topic) God is at work in us and through us when our spiritual growth may seem fallow, like a farmer’s field out of production. And the same for those we care about.
“Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things,” says wise Solomon (Ecclesiastes 11:5).
We have a part to play in this GROWING UP story, but God sees and knows things that we do not. Will you join me in leaning into our trustworthy guide and the mysteries of God as our primary developer and the farmer of our souls?
- How are your trusting muscles these days?
- Looking back, when you were in a fallow season, what was God preparing and planting that you did not see but understand now?
At VP3 our entire ministry is committed to helping you grow up in every way into Christ’s good work for you. Our seven-week small group resource could be just the right “seed” for your summer conversations. Click here to look at a sample conversation.