I don't want to be a bumblebee


By Jessica Brodie

Unless one of my children is shrieking in fear, I usually don’t notice bumblebees besides when I’m photographing flowers. I spot a lovely blossom, zoom in, then notice the soft-brown fuzz of activity darting about, legs all aquiver as the creature focuses its energy and passion on the very center of the bud, seeking out the succulent nectar and pollen.

Soon enough, though, I find I’m just as fascinated by the bee as I am the flower. There’s something that both attracts and repels me about these busy little creatures—the way they seem to have a single-track mind, with every ounce of their being consumed by the urge to drink and bask in a cathartic sea of bliss and gluttony as they scurry from bloom to bloom, then zip on back home to their hive to make honey. The bees barely even notice me above them, clicking away with my camera. They’re so consumed by the flower, by their task, that they seem to tune out everything else in the entire universe. There I am, so large and powerful I could crush them if I wished to, and all they care about is their drive, their job, their meal. Their focus is impressive—and a little scary.

Yet peering down at them, so utterly absorbed by their work, I can’t help but shudder. Is that how God peers at us? Are we sometimes so busy focusing on our task at hand that we don’t even seem to notice His great, all-powerful divinity all around us? We get so caught up in our jobs and responsibilities, our worries and our fears. Our passions—even innocent ones, like love for spouse or children—so quickly become idols as we focus on them over God.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus told the great crowd following him not to worry about their life, what they’ll eat or drink, what they’ll wear. “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” he asked. “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:25, 31-33 NIV).

Of course, I’m projecting. Maybe the bumblebees aren’t worrying at all. Maybe they’ve got it all right—God designed them to eat, to pollinate the flowers. For them, maybe that is their way of worshipping God.

But we humans are designed differently. God told us how He wants us to worship Him: by loving Him with all our hearts, souls, and minds, and loving our neighbors as ourselves—not by tuning Him out to focus on work, responsibilities, obsessions, and other idols. As Jesus pointed out in the Gospel of Luke, Mary had it right when she shirked work to sit at the feet of her Savior to learn and love. Her hardworking sister Martha chose wrong when she chose duties over the divine (Luke 10:38-42).

Let the hardworking, flower-focused bumblebee do its thing. But as for me, I know deep down I should be nothing like that, all head down and obsessed with my task. I’m called to live my life with my heart, mind, and soul pointed up and out—toward God and toward others.

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