This is a nice bit of metaphorical symbolism for the life process, the life journey, and the fact that hard work can bring great rewards and satisfactions not immediately evident at the outset. This parallels the analogy of the honeybee dutifully flitting from flower to flower, collecting pollen to return with to the hive where honey eventually is produced and becomes a reward not only for the bee but for many other creatures, humans included, as one of the most delightful and enjoyable treats of nature. If you think about many differing lifestyles, almost all have many things in common. All are born helpless as infants with no immediate life experience, or even capability, and must learn to use the body which takes years to become mobile and not helplessly dependent on an adult for care and feeding. This is followed by an endless series of demanding challenges for learning language, learning one’s place in things, learning about dealing with others around you in all kinds of circumstances, and then in a growing variety of settings for learning, sharing group experiences, and eventually a career of some kind or raising one’s own family, or both.
It is truly the case that work is its own reward, for it truly brings honey forth of a special kind. It brings many types of love to the fore which are shared by all involved interacting with one another. In the course of a lifetime lived with others, there will be many interactions and opportunities for sharing something positive, something encouraging, something helpful, all of which are an exchange of love, and here again, love is a good measure of a life well-lived. If people reach the end of their life and at that point love themselves, that is quite an achievement in today’s world, assuming it is not the false and shallow substitute for love provided by the ego, which is all a loveless person will be able to appreciate and enjoy.
Someone who reaches their final times surrounded by loved ones, a loving family who respects and cherishes them as a person, has attained a state of advanced development that we see as being quite lofty. This has nothing to do with book learning or material possessions, or professional accomplishments and reputation. All of those seeming attributes can as well be a product of love applied along the way to create opportunities and make the best of circumstances. You see this in people who will tell you they are doing something charitable or volunteering in some way to give something back, knowing they have benefitted from the contributions of many others to get where they are, and are grateful and want to share some of their bounty with others. And may be true as well for some who are entirely self-made, but still know they are blessed compared to others who have less, and they are willing to share some of their honey they have earned because all they have lived has brought them enough to be more than sufficient for their needs.