The Waggle Dance of the Church
Recently, I heard a beekeeper telling about some of the fascinating features of being around a beehive. One of the things he mentioned was something I had heard long ago but had paid little attention to and that was the waggle dance that the bee does when he comes back from harvesting some nectar. You may not realize it, but bees fly their little wings off to bring back the substance that will become honey that is a blessing to all of us.
They work hard. In fact, a beehive sends the bees out and they travel up to three miles in every direction to find nectar and bring it back to the hive. It takes thousands of trips for those bees to make enough honey for us to have a jar full, but they stay at the task. The waggle dance is one of the most fascinating things about bees, and you can literally see pictures of them doing the dance when they return from going out and harvesting and coming back. Some of them will do a strange dance.
It’s kind of a Figure 8. They will sometimes flip over as they dance around. For a long time it was not known what this was all about, but research has shown that what the bee is doing is instructing the rest of the hive how they can get to a new plot of flowers and harvest the honey. The bee is instructing all of the other bees in the directions to go and to find the best crop available.
I entitled this article, “The Waggle Dance of the Church,” because, literally, for those of us who gather to worship the living Christ and are a part of the family of God, we are instructed to go out and reach others and to help each other as we bring in a harvest for the Lord. The bees that do the waggle dance are doing three things.
One – they are sharing that good things are out there. They know that there’s good things out there because they have experienced it. They have been there and personally been involved in it, know that the harvest is there, and they come back to do their dance. I am convinced that sometimes there are people who are part of the family of faith who have been some time since they experienced the joy of doing what Christ has asked us to do in bringing in the harvest. Not only does the bee share that there are good things out there, but they know where it is.
How long has it been since you have sat down in a kind of meditative moment and thought about one person that you know who needs to be reached with the good news of Jesus? You’ve experienced good things, but you also know somebody that needs your love, your attention, your openness and care to talk to them about the Lord. You may be the missionary that God has put in their path, so at least have the work ethic and the caring spirit to share the good things.
Two – they are showing the way to the blessing. I know that we think because we’ve posted something on Facebook or put an ad in the paper or even things on television or radio that advertise our church or some meeting, that everybody knows the way. Not really. For just as the man from Ethiopia who was talking to Philip, the deacon. In Acts 8:30-31, Philip asked him, “‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ And he said, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’” I don’t understand; nobody has told me who this is talking about. Nobody has explained to me the blessings that can come. The church needs to be ready to respond with the kind expression of showing them the way to Christ, the way to forgiveness of sin, the way to life everlasting.
Third – it allows the bee to sing the praises of the blessings that come to the entire hive and even some human folk because they are willing to go out and get the harvest. Here’s the amazing picture. It’s in a word from Jesus. In Luke 6:38 He said, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” We, too, when we follow the Lord, we get in on sharing with others and we sing the praises of the blessings that come to the entire family of God over and over again. Psalms tells us the same thing in a different way when the psalmist says, “He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Ps. 126:6).
The blessing in the church reaches far beyond just the individual. The church exists for you? Yes, it does, but not for you only. There must be something in our lives like in the bees world, a waggle dance, that helps us to be involved in helping others to share the good news of Christ so that others can be nourished and blessed and the sweetness of the honey of life can be theirs. An interesting fact is that the bee is the only insect that prepares food beyond itself. Not just for the other bees in the hive, but beyond that, the larger portion of a beehive goes to food for people. They have more than enough for themselves and they share the rest with us. Isn’t that amazing?
What if God could put together a group of people, not in a hive, but in a fellowship called the church and that we would have the kind of disposition that we would go and work hard, come back, and share with others – here’s where you can go and be blessed and bless others. Get in on the harvest for Jesus today. There may be one person out there. Help them know the way to the living Christ.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Jim Futral