“Go to the bee, and learn how diligent he is, and what a noble work he produces; whose labour kings and private men use for their health. He is desired and honored by all, and though weak in strength, yet since he values wisdom he prevails” – (http://andrewgough.co.uk/articles_bee3/)
After I was installed as Master of Richardson Lodge I was asked why my father-in-law put the beehive on the gavel that was presented to me in the ceremony. The bee and the beehive have been symbols in various different civilizations throughout history. In Christian, Egyptian and Roman symbolism, as in Freemasonry, it has been known to represent industry, wisdom and obedience. Furthermore, the honey inside is used to illustrate moral teachings. If one observes bees at work in their hives they cannot be anything but amazed by the regulated and congregated method by which they work. Even though it looks chaotic there is a high degree of methodology and systemization. Truly bees work in peace and harmony for a unified purpose, the longevity of the hive. However, the peace and harmony in their hive is not what I find to be the most interesting aspect of bees and beehives. Bees have a necessary influence outside of their hive as well. If bees were to stop pollinating flowers, the world’s food supply would disappear and all living creatures would eventually die.
Furthermore, the longevity of the hive is multifaceted. Bees have to make other bees, make a bigger and safer hive, bees have to be trained to protect the hive, take care of the young and teach them to search for pollen, and most importantly make honey. If any of these functions were to become unbalanced, the entire bee hive would collapse and cease to exist causing everything around it to die.
Imagine for a moment what would happen to our countries and cities if Freemasonry stopped influencing their communities like bees spreading pollen. Our lodge is similar to a bee hive. For our survival we need brothers who teach and raise other ‘bees’ as well as brothers that serve to protect the lodge. More importantly we need to make honey or in our case learn and continue our moral teachings through the generations. In this way we can increase our circumference allowing us to mix and spread through our communities, influencing them for the positive. Freemasons in the past have done this and freemasons in the future need to continue it. As ‘bees’ we need to pollinate the world with our virtues and good works and this work should never cease regardless of one’s position or length in masonry. Galatians 6:9 tells us, “So we must not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up.”
The beehive is an emblem of industry, and recommends the practice of that virtue to all created beings, from the highest seraph in the heavens to the lowest reptile of the dust. It teaches us that, as we came into the world endowed as rational and intelligent beings, so we should ever be industrious ones; never sitting down contented while our fellow creatures around us are in want, when it is in our power to relieve them, without inconvenience to ourselves. – The Monitor of the Lodge | Grand Lodge of Texas