When I was in grade school, I think it was 4th grade, a beekeeper came and talked to our class. He had recently been out on an emergency call to remove a beehive from a family’s home. He told us how he had removed the beehive safely and successfully. The next challenge he faced was merging these “new-bees” into his existing hives at home. Bees rely on odor and pheromones to identify one another within a bee colony and will fight and kill “outsider” bees that intrude their hive.
A special technique is used when a
beekeeper merges two colonies. To merge colonies a beekeeper will place the hives together, separated by several layers of paper. Over a period of several days, the bees will work their way through the paper. As they take the time to work through the paper, the bees become accustomed to the other colony’s pheromones. Eventually the bees penetrate the barrier that the beekeeper placed between them. When they do, they all smell the same, like the paper they’ve all gone through. Fighting is avoided and the bees are united.
Just recently I had the opportunity to enjoy time with a tight knit group of friends that I do not get to see often. This close group was completely unacquainted with each other only a couple of years ago. On the rare occasions we get to be together there is openness, understanding, transparency, deep sharing and encouragement. This level of closeness is not unique to this group, but this group serves as an example of one of the key ways to obtain this level of intimacy. My group of friends has not given up meeting together.
“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25)
There is something about the way bees are unified that I believe holds true in our human relationships. The bees become unified after they have passed through the layers of paper. Too often, when we encounter barriers in our relationships it signals the end of the line. But we are instructed to “ not give up meeting together.” There are levels of knowing and being known that will not be achieved until we have “passed through” some barriers in our relationships. There are depths of friendship that are not achieved until we have “passed through” some shared experiences. God has made us for relationship. He has made us to be part of a family, part of the same body. We need one another and we need one another in a way that goes beyond the superficial. If we are to ever move below the surface it is going to take a greater level of commitment to one another in our relationships.
Who are your closest brothers and sisters in Christ? What is your level of commitment to them? Some are in the habit of not meeting together, not building relationship, not pressing through barriers, not passing through shared experiences. What about you? What habits are you developing when it comes to your relationships?