The Sweet Life

Lou Lotz

READ : Genesis 43:11-14

Carry a present down to the man, a little balm and a little honey. (v. 11)

As a beekeeper, I am drawn to Bible verses that speak of honey. What gifts should Jacob
send to the ruler of Egypt? He instructs his sons to bring gifts of balm, myrrh, pistachio
nuts, almonds, “and a little honey.” Scripture doesn’t say how the gifts were received,
but who doesn’t like honey?

Here we are in the month of August, when northern beekeepers harvest honey. I keep my
hives in a meadow beyond the barn. The meadow grass is waist-high, and it undulates gently
in the summer breeze. Walking through the meadow you see bees mining in the goldenrod,
their thighs bright yellow with pollen. Honey bees are ideal pollinators, so perfectly is
their anatomy coordinated with a flower’s innards. Truly, without honey bees there would
be no balm, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds—all of these, and fully one-third of
the earth’s vegetation, are dependent on honey-bee pollination.

And I never tire of the taste. In every glistening dollop I taste the minerals of the soil, the tang of the buckwheat, and the fruity sweetness of my apple trees. Sometimes, I could swear I taste the sunshine. “My son, eat honey,” says Proverbs, “for it is good” (24:13).


Father, thank you for all the extras that make life so sweet. Amen.