The Exhilaration of Building
As a beekeeper, I have the privilege of working amidst the honey bees as I listen to the diligent hum of the yard. Each season accompanies unique tasks bringing variety to my work. Spring is peak queen-raising season being the premier time to expand into more colonies as the earth awakens. Summer’s warmth is spent trying to endure the heat while propelling the bees toward the winter ensuring they have plenty of food. Typically, harvest time occurs in July-August when we cut into the comb oozing with honey. Fall is a hectic period of the year as we are nearing the last sprint towards winter’s chilly blast doing everything to ensure the bees are prepared. Long at last winter arrives. All the hours of grinding work have brought us to this point. The bees now have the job of surviving until creation begins to warm.
It is precisely in winter that building for the next year begins. I go out into my garage as the saw blades ignite to cut the wood which shall serve the bees next season. My mind fills with images of the little critters hard at work peaking at me in the boxes after I am finished assembling them. While my staple gun gears into rhythm, I visualize the now empty frames dripping with honey in the next Spring. The drill vibrates in my hand as I work on our specially designed feeders. My memory goes back to the 100-degree days when I open the feeders’ ventilation so the bees can stay cool, then close it as I feel the chill of winter’s first breath. Each piece of equipment made serves the purpose of expanding the bee yard as a whole. Once my bee colonies grow, farmers have more pollinators, neighbors have better gardens, and I have a bigger business to meet my needs. I think about all these realities as I build in the winter. The season is particularly fascinating because the concept of “building” unites us with the biblical themes of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Without these three, any building project is ultimately a pursuit of vanity.
How To Build A House
The book of Proverbs gives us practical wisdom grounded in divine truth that transforms our everyday lives. One such passage depicts the intimate role wisdom, knowledge, and understanding play in building when it says:
“By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” -Proverbs 24:3-4
Wisdom is the skill to live as God intended by applying His truth. Playing off my bee yard, wisdom knows how to use a table saw cutting each piece of wood precisely without losing a finger in the process! Wisdom rightly sees how to put the knowledge provided by mathematics into action in order to discern the appropriate measurement of each board. A man or woman who knows how to apply the truth skillfully in various scenarios is living out wisdom.
Yet, we see it is by understanding that the house is established. What good is it if I build all of these materials only to lose my bees each winter because I do not know how to keep them alive? It is easy to build a house or a box for the bee yard, but the difficulty of actually establishing a home or a colony is exceptionally greater. The joy of the beekeeper is to look out into the yard seeing colonies that they have had for years still going strong. Not only did he wisely build the materials, but he also understood how to build a healthy colony to put them to good use. Understanding means that the beekeeper knows how to discern a healthy queen from a failing one. They comprehend what a hive needs in order to grow from a few thousand bees up to tens of thousands. Experience has taught them well the process of developing a colony over time in order to see them return alive and well each new season. Wisdom builds her house, then understanding comes alongside in order to ensure it stands firm decade after decade.
There is still one more step to proverbial building and it is that knowledge fills the rooms with pleasant and precious riches. A good beekeeper knows how to keep their colonies humming year after year with solid output. A professional beekeeper comprehends how to generate higher yields of honey, genetically superior queens, and improve the overall health of the bees with each passing season. Their seasoned knowledge applied skillfully means they have a unique proficiency in their operation. They do not merely establish a bee yard they fill it to the brim where it overflows beyond what many could have imagined possible.
Lessons from this Proverb extend well beyond houses and bee yards into everyday decisions which culminate to build a life piece by piece. Wisdom rightly sees how to apply God’s Word each day as you seek to work towards whatever it is He has called you to in this world. Whether it be building a family, working in the local church, starting a new vocation, or any myriad of things you need the ability to apply truth. Understanding accompanies wisdom in your life by giving you the vision to see what needs to be done in order to bring long-lasting establishment. It helps you comprehend how to take care of your health so that you have the endurance to keep going over a lifetime instead of running your body down. Anyone can get married, few think towards the future seeking understanding as to how they can remain married over a lifetime. Furthermore, even fewer look for knowledge as to how their marriage cannot merely remain but thrive over the course of a lifetime together.
All of these truths taken together dictate that we must be those who build with intentionality in order to rightly incorporate wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. If I only seek to grow in wisdom, then I will be short-sighted focusing simply on daily applications while neglecting long-term knowledge. My sole dedication to growth in knowledge would mean I lack the skill to foundationally understand how to use each piece of information bringing establishment. However, if I dedicate all of my time to understanding, then I will lack the ability to have the basic application skills necessary to use what I learn. No, we must focus on growing in all three realms for the glory of God if we are to build a life which honors Him. Let us come to the Word every day bowing before God with reverential fear since He is the fountain from which all these flow. As we build day-by-day may we never forget to grow in each realm. God has called us to be balanced always increasing in wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Let us take up the hammer to build with skill as we work for the kingdom which shall never pass away!