My dad is a beekeeper. It seems kind of funny to say that, but it is so like him to try something new and different. Along the way, family members have been educated by him in the discipline of beekeeping. We have been talking about gratitude at Columbus Road recently and a powerful illustration emerged from my recent beekeeping classes with dad.
On Thanksgiving, dad showed me his beekeeper outfit. I even TRIED IT ON. The suit covers the beekeepers entire body from head to toe. It is an outfit that keeps the bees from stinging the keeper while he or she works with the hive to maintain it. It dawned on me that there is a picture of how life happens in relation to bees and the keeper.
The bee stings in life come in the form of broken relationships, loss of jobs, isolation, conflict with people around us, and discontentment with our circumstances. The beekeeper's outfit represents prayer. The scriptures (Colossians 4:2) make it clear that gratitude protects us from the enemies of our lives.
It says, "Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving. " We see three simple admonitions in this verse. First we are to devote ourselves to prayer. This is simply explained. Run everything in your life past God all the time before acting or thinking about it on your own. This is obviously easier said than done.
The second thing we are to do is stay alert. Be cautious, active, and give strict attention to the circumstances that surround you. This is sometimes where we don't completely cover ourselves, and "bam"... we get stung. The best way to avoid those moments is by applying the third point. Always have an attitude of thanksgiving. We are protected from the stings when we chose the proper attitude. Gratitude is that protective covering when life happens in a way that is not favorable (or appears to be unfavorable).
Richard Baxter said this, "When men accustom themselves to have ten words or twenty of confession and petition for one of thanksgiving, and ten thoughts of sins and wants, and troubles, for the one of mercies, they starve thankfulness and turn it away."
It may be time to check to see if you have your protective outfit on. If you don't, watch out! The stings are on their way!