Pastoral ministry is not for wimps and neither is beekeeping. Both endeavors have their own problems and pains. First, bee keeping is messy! Bees use a substance called propolis to glue stuff in their hives. Bees make the red resin-like material from the buds of cone-bearing trees. This stuff gets on everything in the hive and is sure to get all over your hands and clothes. I've even found some propolis on my suits that I wear to church! Pastoral ministry is messy too. Whenever you get people with sinful natures together, then messy ministry will surely follow. I mean messy when one person gets upset with another person. I've had people sit in my office and tell me they weren't coming back to church because so-and-so started coming. I mean messy when someone's sinful practices come to the light. I've had people in my office sobbing because their secret sin was outed in some way. Beekeeping and pastoral ministry are both messy, but in different ways.

Second, beekeeping hurts! I know this may come as a shock to you, but honey bees have stingers. Most days I can tend to my bees without personal protective equipment. On other days, I must suit up from head to toe to keep them off me. Just two days ago, I got stung under my arm. The bee crawled up my arm, into my shirt, and then stung me. Honestly, it was probably my fault for putting my arm down on top of it. Pastoral ministry is no different because I've been hurt there too. Every time a church member tells me they are leaving the church . . . it stings! Not too long ago, I had a church member tell me that his family was leaving because of family health reasons. It hurt because I realized that was a relationship I was losing. Every time someone lashes out at me or my family with their words . . . it stings! I've had people call me on the phone or stop me at church to let me have a piece of their mind. Beekeeping and pastoral ministry can be hurtful, but in different ways.

Yet, even with the problems and pain, beekeeping is quite rewarding. After all the work and all the pain, the beekeeper can reap some of the rewards. Honey! Honey is a viscous golden colored liquid made from the nectar of flowering plants. The local honey that comes from your own bees tastes much better than store-bought honey. I'm always happy when I see some of that golden liquid dripping down the honey comb because it means I get to taste it. Pastoral ministry is rewarding as well. The good days of pastoral ministry outweigh the bad days for sure. It's rewarding to be with a person when they repent and believe in Jesus Christ. It's rewarding to be with a family during some of the best moments of their life. Ultimately, the best reward for messiness and hurtfulness of pastoral ministry comes when I will see my Master and He says, "Well done."

So, what should I do? I should continue my work with bees because they need me. Bees have parasites and other problems that can affect them negatively. Without proper husbandry methods, the bees will not produce enough offspring or flourish to produce honey. Similarly, I should continue my work in pastoral ministry because they need me. The people at my church need someone to care and love them. Our church members need someone to watch over and protect them from parasites and other problems too. Listen ministers, let us continue to be faithful even amidst the messiness and painfulness of ministry.

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