There she was, in all her glorious beauty.  It had taken about three hours, standing on the top rung of a ladder, carefully removing row after row of soft, honey-filled wax comb, but I finally found her:  the queen.  A swarm of honey bees had found a hole in the brick wall of a two-story house and had begun to build their new hive in the roof’s soffit.  When I do bee hive removals, I carefully and meticulously cut out each piece of comb and removal design it so not to kill the bees with a vacuum while keeping my eyes open for the queen.  This can be daunting since you are trying to spot that individual bee among 60-80,000 other bees.  A true “Where’s Waldo” task.  We put so much effort into looking for the queen because once we have found her and safely moved her to a new hive box, we know that, eventually, all the other bees will seek her out and join her, making our work a lot easier.

            The queen plays a vital role in the hive.  She lays as many as 1,500 eggs per day and keeps the colony’s population strong.  As a beekeeper, I know I will lose a hive if I lose a queen.  Now, we have ways to help a colony replace a queen if they cannot do it themselves, but losing a queen will set any hive back several weeks, putting it in danger of not surviving the next winter.

            In our previous article, we discussed the bee hive as a “super-organism,” where one bee, by itself, cannot survive without the help and support of all the other bees.  But ultimately, the queen determines everything that all the other workers in the hive do.  You see, a queen releases many different pheromones, chemicals used as a communication tool to let everyone else know where she is, what she is doing, and how healthy she is.  The queen has an entourage of bees that constantly follow her everywhere she goes.  They are always in physical contact with her, cleaning, feeding, protecting, and aiding her in any needed way.  Research has shown that many of the pheromones from the queen are transferred to this group of bees who, as they move throughout the hive, encounter other bees, passing on the information of those pheromones.  As they go about their daily tasks, those bees rub up against other workers, continuing the transfer of those pheromones throughout the hive so that tens of thousands of bees receive information directly from the queen.

If the queen dies, is killed, or is removed, every single bee becomes aware of it within less than ten minutes, even if they are on the opposite side of the hive.  A honey bee colony without a queen for a substantial amount of time quickly moves into confusion and chaos.  When inspecting my hives, one of the first things I observe is what I can hear.  Usually, when all is good at home, honey bees are very docile, gentle, calm, and quiet.  If I walk up to a hive and I can hear a loud hum coming from within, it means that something has upset them, and many times, it is a strong indicator that something has happened to the queen.  Suddenly, a hive that was gentle yesterday has become very defensive and agitated. All because they have lost connection with their queen.

As I sit across the table from someone in a Bible study, my number one goal is to help them find the King, Jesus Christ, because without Him there is no eternal life.  “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11). I know that apart from the King, there is no way to spiritually grow and thrive.  Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). And once an individual comes to understand the need for Christ in their lives and connects their life to Him through obedience to the gospel, it becomes imperative for them to remain connected.

Jesus continues saying,

“If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned” (John 15:6).  As a honey bee cannot survive on its own without a queen, it is not possible to survive spiritually without Jesus Christ our King.

This, then, becomes increasingly important for the church.  I have seen, too many times, churches that have lost connection with their King, and it isn’t surprising that before too long, they find themselves in a state of confusion and chaos.  Truth is compromised.  The love of others is replaced with the importance of self.  Reaching the loss is exchanged for maintaining what we’ve worked so hard to get.  When Christ is no longer seen as the one with all authority (Matthew 28:18), man begins to implement ways that seem right.  “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverb 14:12).

In a honey bee colony, we call this a “laying worker.”  All worker bees are female but infertile, having never mated with a drone (male) bee.  One of the queen bee’s pheromones inhibits the reproductive organs of all the workers from developing.  But as soon as the queen is gone, those organs begin to, unnaturally, come alive.  Some workers feel the urge to take things into their own hands and take over the queen’s responsibility. They start laying unfertilized eggs, leading to other unhealthy consequences in the hive.  When a beekeeper sees this, we know we have a sick hive, one of the most challenging problems for a beekeeper to correct.

The same is true for a church.  It is not difficult to observe and determine when a group of Christians has begun to take things into their own hands and alter the design Christ originally used to establish His church.  As soon as man determines that we should do it his way, the King is no longer sitting on His throne among those people.  Although a simple comparison to Scripture will help us see where things went wrong, correcting it is never easy.  When an elder, preacher, or even a member of the body sees this, they know they have a spiritually unhealthy situation, but this, too, is one of the most challenging problems to remedy.

In the honey bee colony, things remain as they should be when every member of the hive is closely connected to the queen. Those who are closest to her influence those who may be on the outskirts of the hive because they carry what she wants to communicate to everyone.

For the church, we are told, many times in Scripture, of the importance of remaining close to our King.

“Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). James writes, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).

Those who are closest to the King have the greatest influence on others who may be on the outskirts of the church, struggling with their faith.

“Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. For even Christ did not please Himself” (Romans 15:1-3).

We must understand and remain focused on remaining closely connected to our King and allow Him to communicate to us, through His Word, what He wants and needs within the colony of Christians we are a part of.

Steve Schinnerer
+ posts

Steve Schinnerer was raised in the church in Scott City, KS where his father served as an elder for 25 years.  Steve attended Oklahoma Christian for one year where he met his wife, Jennifer, of Yukon, OK.  Steve and Jenni have four children: Ajay, Jagger, Liberty, and Jase, they also have 4 grandchildren. Jenni is a stay-at-home mom where she homeschools and is focused on raising her children in the Lord.

Steve and Jenni both attended Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver where they graduated: Steve with a Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Theology, and Jenni with and Associates degree in Bible. 

Following Bear Valley, Steve and his family moved to Porter, OK where he served as their pulpit minister for six years, and then another six years as the pulpit minister for the Cherokee Hills church of Christ in Oklahoma City before coming to Cave Springs in the fall of 2013.

Steve and Jenni have a passion to teach the saving message of Jesus Christ and do so whether it be in their home congregation, at summer camps, gospel meetings, lectureships, or in the foreign mission field.  Steve has been able to preach in eight different countries around the world with most of his time abroad spent in Africa and Australia.  Steve and Jenni have recently been focusing on young families, trying to help strengthen marriages, encouraging parents to utilize Biblical discipline and training with their children and especially in helping men in their battle to become the husbands and fathers that God desires for them to be.