“Kindness in ourselves is the honey that blunts the sting of unkindness in another.”- Walter Savage Lander
“Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”- Proverbs 16:24
Ed and Loretta Sheldon lived next door to my parents, Bill and Elinor, for about ten years. Ed drove semis for a living. During his lengthy trucking career, Ed logged 4,350,000 accident and ticket-free miles. Off the job, Ed carried over that sense of responsibility and consideration to his closest neighbors. He always asked nothing in return.
Sometime after moving to North Carolina, Ed passed the state exam for beekeeping. In a recent chat, he informed me that male bees (drones) don’t have stingers. Female bees sting, but only when bothered by humans. Interestingly, the queen bee only uses her stinger when another queen invades the hive via human insertion. The best stinger survives. Most of all, honey bees function pollinate our food sources. Without them, the world’s current supplies would last four years. And ever the electronics dabbler, Ed just designed a solar fan for beehives!
Dale Carnegie once quipped, “If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive.” Stung by swarms of ‘bee-lligerent’ ministry or vocational attacks, dejection invades our soul. In contrast, as John Ortberg exhorts, God never delivers discouragement:
“God is never a God of discouragement. When you have a discouraging spirit or train of thought in your mind, you can be sure it is not from God. He sometimes brings pain to his children- conviction over sin . . . repentance over fallenness . . . challenges that scare us . . . . But God never brings discouragement.”
As a result, we must press on in order to offset dismay with gratitude. In addition, Pastor Ortberg (When the Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box) lists two components of gratitude:
- the ability to experience life as a gift
- liberation from the prison of self-preoccupation
John notes that some studies found thankful people possess a low threshold of gratitude. Failure to be grateful, on the other hand, makes one “hard of thanking.” Hence, people with a low threshold of gratitude see little, everyday things as blessings. Those overlooked, taken for granted events set off a sense of being blessed by an unearned gift.
This Thanksgiving, look for that extra-grace-required person sitting at your festive table. Perhaps you’re that person! As John states, the thinking and the doing lead to the emotions. After all, this Thursday is Thanksgiving, not Thanksfeeling, Day.