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  • "A Musing Pastor"

Gracious speech is like clover honey.

I had two really cool uncles. Well, all my aunts and uncles were/are cool, but uncle Dan and uncle Ross were cooler. Both were well read and incredibly intelligent. Down to earth and humble were the traits of these two I remember best. Brothers who grew up on the family farm, they understood hard work and often did much of their own carpentry, masonry, and plumbing work. In fact, uncle Dan mined the sandstone and hand cut it all for his house and garage stone casing.

Both were bee keepers and I'll never forget uncle Ross telling the story of trying to convince my aunt Claire that he should get many hives of honeybees. He mentioned a few Bible scriptures that mentioned the value of honey. He would point to these and say, "See 'honey', right here in scripture the Lord is telling me to get bees." While the Holy Bible mentions honey at least 57 times, uncle Ross lifted this one up as evidence that he should get the bees.

"Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste." (Proverbs 24:13, NIV)

At one point, uncle Dan convinced me to learn the art of apiary work. I was hesitant and could only see the honey bees as adversaries ready to sting me. Eventually, I donned the bee helmet and tightened my clothing and away we went to the hives. Uncle Dan had the smoker and I followed behind at a distance.

It must have been a sight. I was bundled against the bees and their potential to sting. Uncle Dan had a bee helmet, but no gloves and no protective measures were employed. It was not unusual for uncle Dan to reach in to pull the racks of honey out of the 'supers' and hear him say, "Oo, that one got me." He would gingerly pull the honey bee off his hand and drop it to the ground. Over time, uncle Dan began researching the healing properties of bee stings. Later in life he would talk about inviting bee sting therapy as a viable preventative for a number of ailments. I would shudder just listening to him describe the procedure.

What a marvel to learn that honey and honey bees have so many restorative properties. Honey itself is pure and great for natural sweetening. It never spoils. It can come in various flavors depending on which field of flowers the bees are pollinating. I remember the difference in taste between buckwheat flower honey and red clover flower honey. The tastes were so different.

I stand amazed that God created honey bees to pollinate flowers, gather nectar, and then turn it into yummy honey. Never mind how many times bees actually regurgitate the stuff to get it into the form we enjoy.

The text from Proverbs 16 speaks of our gracious speech being like honey. Maybe there is something to gain from this description. Maybe we should swallow many words we want to say and then wait. As we swallow harsh words then regurgitate them, the process may decrease the toxicity and those words that do escape our lips are as sweet at the finest honey.

It's worth a try. "Oo, that one got me."

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