Bumble Bees and Bumbling
I knew something was wrong the minute I walked in. My wife Alexandra, on whom I can always count for a cheerful smile and a hug when I come home, met me with a frightened Oh, Glenn, you’ve got to come take care of this!” “This” was a big bumble bee that had flown in through our bedroom window. It was now sitting motionless on our book table.
Usually we Jews for Jesus are a fearless bunch for God, but when it comes to flying and/or stinging insects, I am just a big chicken.
Alexandra and I knew the poor little thing was dying. We wanted to help it, but we did not want to be stung. The irony of it was that we lived just two blocks from a big city park, with flowers enough to keep any bee busy and happy. Naturally, we felt it would be in the best interests of all concerned if the bee would just fly back out the same window and go home to the park. Problem:
A. Bees do not understand things like windows.
B. The bee might misinterpret our efforts to help it as an attack, and sting one of us.
We tried all kinds of indirect ways to get the bee to leave. I opened the window all the way, thinking the fresh air would stimulate his senses and he would have a larger exit. He didn’t go for it. Next I took our plant sprayer and sprayed a light mist in the air above where the bee was sitting. I hoped that would “wake” the bee out of its lethargy and get it to fly. If he would at least start flying, he might just find the window. Well, the spray had its desired effect—almost.The bumble bee started flying around the bedroom (Yours Truly ran out of the bedroom) but instead of flying out the wide-open obvious window, he flew farther into the bedroom!
I got out of that room so fast I never did see whether or not the bumble bee flew out. A few minutes later I gathered up my courage and peeked into the room. The bee was nowhere to be seen! I checked everywhere, just to be sure: under the bed, behind the booktables, in the closet. We figured the little guy must have found the window and hopefully would find his way back to the park and the life-giving flowers.
Unfortunately, the next day I did find the bumble bee in our closet where it had crawled into a corner to die. We were sad. We had really hoped the bee would fly away and live, but we had been afraid to come close or touch it to help. We were so sure the bee would perceive us as a threat and lash out with its stinger.
There is a lesson in all this. All too often Christians approach Jewish people the same way my wife and I approached that bumble bee: by not approaching them! I don’t know how many times I have met fellow believers in Yeshua who are so certain their Jewish friends will misconstrue any witness as an attack that they never do share their faith. How many hope and pray for their Jewish friends to be saved, but are not willing to risk being stung?
Some have sought to justify the tension theologically, by saying that Jewish people have their own covenant with God and don’t need to believe in Jesus. This, of course, is a double standard, and makes a liar out of Jesus, who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”. (John 14:6). Others try dropping hints here and there, hoping that their Jewish friends will figure it all out for themselves. But as Paul stated, the natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit. There must be a direct, verbal witness as to Jesus’ messiahship, and a clear message that He is the way for all mankind (which would include Jewish people).
It is true that some Jewish people, when first witnessed to, will instinctively become angry. After all, if there is one thing every Jewish person is taught from childhood, it is that Jews do not believe in Jesus.
When you hear something often enough, you start believing it and repeating it. But at what price do we avoid taking the risk? Every day Jewish people are dying in unbelief. Is it enough to watch from a distance and hope that they will come to the light? That somehow they will receive a witness? How many ever really do figure it out for themselves?
Frankly, I am embarrassed that I was so afraid of a bumble bee that I could not help it to safety. But I think there was a lesson that day—for me and for most of God’s people—about the fear of witnessing. I hope you will join me in speaking out faithfully for the Lord Jesus, in the confidence we can have through Him.