Category | Inspiration

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Contemplating life, a wise teacher gazed at a beautiful garden.

As he breathed in the wonderful fragrances and beheld the beauty of the garden, he saw a butterfly flitting from flower to flower. It spent a few seconds on the edge of a rose, then a daisy, and then a sunflower. The garden was a rainbow of fragrance and color, but the butterfly gained no particular benefit from any of the flowers there.

Next the teacher saw a botanist with a large notebook and an equally large magnifying glass in his hand. As the botanist carefully observed each flower, he filled a great number of pages with his notes. But after hours of meticulous study, most of what he learned was shut up in his notebook and forgotten.

Then the wise teacher observed a small bee. The bee enthusiastically entered a flower, was gone from view for a brief moment, and then emerged laden with pollen. It had left the hive that morning empty, but would return full, and in doing so would share his abundance. With that pollen, sweet honey would be made to sustain, not only himself, but the entire hive for the future.

The wise teacher pondered.

Some people are like butterflies, going from teacher to teacher, seminar to seminar, book to book. They are so very busy, and expend so much energy, but have little to show for their efforts. They remain unchanged in any significant way because they never really delve into things wholeheartedly. They’re content to simply flutter around the edges.

Others, like the botanist, may study in great depth but never apply what is learnt to their lives. Content to study, they know much, but receive little benefit. Striving for knowledge alone, they are unaffected by the knowledge they gain.

Our lives would be very different if we could only learn from the bee — visiting each flower with purpose and passion. To whole-heartedly dive in — to lose ourselves, to go into every opportunity with an open mind, determined to emerge fuller than when we began, to do more than simply flutter, to do more than simply take notes, but to take action. To joyfully give of our abundance so that others can make something sweeter, something that will sustain not only ourselves, but bless others as well.

How would the wise teacher see your life?
As butterfly, a botanist, or a bee?

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.
– James 1:22-25

Copyright 2003 by Ken Sapp
Based on a story by H.P. Barker (Original Source Unknown)

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