PRINCIPLE: “When you get stung, remember the sting.”
I enjoy mowing our yard and taking care of the lawn – as much as time allows me to do so. The trimming I could do without but it's part of the job. So I do it. I say that because on two separate occasions, while trimming around the ditches by the road, I have been attacked and stung by bees that were nesting in a whole hidden by the tall grass. That's no fun! But I have learned some things from those stings.
One, of course, is to look carefully, and often, for signs of the bees and the holes. But beyond that there are at least two spiritual lessons. One is that I take some comfort in the fact that once a bee has stung me it will not sting anyone else. A bee can only sting once. Remember what Paul said in his great resurrection treatise in 1 Corinthians 15:55? “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” Since death stung Jesus it cannot sting again! Its sting is gone. “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (15:57) Nothing in this life or this world can harm us. There is nothing in heaven or on earth or under the earth that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord! So “When you get stung, remember the sting.” It may not ease the pain but at least it will give you consolation that you've just saved someone else from the pain; and more importantly it will remind you of Christ's victory over death.
Yet there's a second lesson here also. The bee gives its life to save other bees from potential harm. It gives its all to sting the enemy. I wonder if I am always willing to give my all to sting the enemy? Am I willing to lay down my life, even to die, to protect others from the pull and power and destruction of Satan? How deeply committed am I to spreading the Gospel, to sharing the good news of salvation? How concerned am I about those who are lost? What about you? “When you get stung, remember the sting.”
God has given us a stinger – His name is Jesus. Through His victory we can sting the enemy, not just once but over and over again. And how do we do that? Paul concluded (58) “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” Paul's not talking about being dramatic, or even doing some major deed or work. Rather he tells us to do it day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. That kind of firmness and perseverance will sting the enemy time and time again. As The Message beautifully translates this verse: “With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don't hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.” Day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute nothing we do for him is a waste of time or effort. We know, because of Jesus Christ's sting.
Have you been stung lately? Whether stung by a bee literally, or stung by the words or actions of someone else, or by life itself, “When you get stung, remember the sting.” Then give yourself fully to the work of the Lord.