Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29
This past week I once again started keeping bees. Transblue, the company that graciously supports mBridge and from which we are founded asked me if I might set up some bee hives for them to highlight the environmental conservation and my guess a little marketing as well. I am 100% everyone who loves bees, as I love this amazing little worker that declares the glory of God.
God’s creation is undoubtedly amazing and the lowly honey bee is one of the finest examples of His amazing design. Most bee-keepers that I know are always full of fascinating facts about these little creatures, many of whom found their way into keeping bees because of a deep appreciation for and an almost whimsical fascination with the lives and ways of bees. I am such a person.
One observation that has always fascinated me about honeybee hives is the mathematical design of each hexagon honey cell. A mathematician was once quoted as saying bees are “heavens-instructed mathematicians.” The root of this mathematical wonder is in bees’ designed choice to produce perfectly sized hexagonally-shaped honeycombs.
So why do bees use hexagons in building their hives? Efficient design is the key. Hexagons are known to be one of the strongest geometric shapes making the hexagon honey cell a wise choice. Yet what is much more important to bees is the fact that these shapes fit together perfectly requiring the least amount of wax while yielding the highest volume of storage. Hexagon cells in the hive are both the perfect size for the development of their young and the optimal size for storing their supply of honey.
This is a side note, healthy hives consist of between 40 – 60,000 bees that have 100 worker (girl) bees to 1-drone (boy) bee. Brood, or worker cells are 4.9 millimeters in size while drones are exactly 6.3 millimeters. In a square inch, there are 27.5 worker cells to 17.09 drone cells with the drone cells almost always on the edges of the hive while brood cells are in the center of the hive where the temperature is always a balmy 95 degrees. The reason for this 100/1 ratio of drones to workers is that drones only have one job, and only one of them needs to do that job…I’ll let you guess what that is, but it has to do when a virgin queen is around. Workers on the other hand do everything from cleaning the hive, feeding the queen, caring for the new bees, guard duty at the entrance of the hive to make sure the hive is safe, and of course, foraging for pollen far and wide. One worker bee can travel a distance of 5 miles from the hive collecting pollen for the hive. I find it amazing that they always find their way home. There is an old adage that you can only move a hive 3 feet or 3 miles, anything else will destroy a hive. Their internal GPS resets at 3 miles, but is so exact that it goes down to less than a foot. One last fun fact. A strong hive has around 60,000 bees, therefore a hive of bees fly the equivalent distance from Earth to the Moon every single day looking for pollen to make honey. Wow!
Maybe this amazing design is why God’s word uses it as an illustration of the power of gracious words, words that feed the soul and promote healing to bones. Words are powerful and come with deep meaning. With them, God says you can speak both life and death. When we use gracious words with our family, team, or employees, we create a culture of goodwill and strength. When we are gracious, appreciative, and thankful, even unhappy customers walk away blessed.
But gracious words are even said to bring healing to the bones. Solomon was using this metaphor to symbolize how gracious words allowed us to regain strength and purpose. Bones are our body’s foundational structure and without them, we lose all strength and productivity.
In both our business and family relationships, gracious words can restore that which is broken. They can create productivity. They bring strength where there is weakness. Gracious words are God’s way of restoring the soul and returning strength back to God’s original purpose. Just as the lowly bee provides, protects, and restores each member of the colony, so gracious words are God’s efficient design for all relationships bringing heaven-instructed patterns of healing and encouragement into our lives.
Let’s learn from the lowly honey bee, bee-ing gracious and restoring lives through worthy, gracious, and God-honoring words.