HoneybeeSome years ago, I discovered a great thinker and writer whom I quickly came to admire and appreciate.  Dag Hammerskjold was the Secretary General of the United Nations from 1953 until his death in a plane crash in 1961 (the youngest person to have held the office), en route to cease-fire talks in Republic of Congo.  He was a deeply committed man of faith (Lutheran) and was straight-forward in speech.

One of his most memorable quotes was: “Like the bee, we distill our poison from honey for self-defense — what happens to the bee if it uses its sting is well known.”

I think Dag was right….you and I often use the good things in our lives to bring about poison with which we sting another.  Don’t think so?

  • When was the last time you withheld your God-given resources when someone asked for help?
  • When was the last time you used your faith as a basis to attack another person of differing beliefs (remember the Crusades?)?
  • When was the last time you denied your God-given gifts and abilities, refusing to use them, when the Church had need of them?

The Scriptures say that every good and perfect gift we have comes from God.  The tricky thing about our faith is that the gifts we receive are meant to be given away.  We are not supposed to hoard what God gives us.

Too often, we use what is good in our lives only for our own benefit.  And when that happens, we “sting” others, as Hammerskjold said, and harm them by our inaction.  It’s not Christian, nor is it biblical…and it’s certainly not healthy.

The second part of Hammerskjold’s statement should serve as a gentle jolt to remind us what happens when we fail to give away our gifts.  Just like the bee, who dies after it has used its stinger, you and I die spiritually – little by little.  We atrophy if we fail to use the good in our lives for greater things.

If we “sting” others, our own poison comes back to destroy us.

Maybe it’s time to use our gifts, not protection of our selves, but for the benefit of others.