The Paper Bag & The Gospel


A young man at our church, Justin Carlton, told me something that I laughed at because I was sure he was pulling my leg. The problem was, he didn’t laugh. What was it? You’re not going to believe it and you’ll definitely believe that I’m pulling your leg, but I’m not.

A few years ago, Justin had a wasp problem at his house. Now I don’t mean a dozen wasps or even 2 dozen. He had several hundred wasps in his shed and house and the weirdest thing there was no nest. He bought every OTC spray that he could find and it would kill a few, but didn’t touch the hundreds. So he bought a large electric bug zapper. It killed quite a few, but didn’t drive the herd of wasps away. Still he had hundreds all over his shed and bunches in his house.

So he did some online research and found a simple, no cost, UNBELIEVABLE remedy. Notice that UNBELIEVABLE is in all caps. Now don’t laugh so hard that you hurt yourself. The remedy said: Take a paper lunch bag, fill it with several plastic bags until it’s about the size of a football, tie or tape it shut and then hang it up high wherever you’re having wasp troubles. The wasps will think it is a hornet’s nest and will find a new home. Crazy?

Justin said that all of his hundreds of wasps were gone by the next day and have not returned. I warned you that you wouldn’t believe it. Justin has shared the remedy with some other folks and they got rid of their wasps also. So what’s the point of this story?

As Justin shared his story, after I realized that he was not joking, I started thinking about how the paper bag and the Gospel had so much in common. Now don’t laugh. Consider this.

1- both are free. (Rom 6:23, “free gift”)

2- both are laughed at and rejected by most people. (Mt 7:13-14, “many”, “destruction”)

3- both get rid of the problem. (2 Tim 1:10, “destroyed death through the gospel”)

4- both give you what you want/need. (Rom 1:16, “salvation”)

The parts of the Gospel that most people stumble over are:

the stable, God incarnate, deity cooing in a manger, makes most people shake their head.

Christ’s miracles make many people think believers are fools.

Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross, makes many think that Christians uncivilized.

Christ’s bodily resurrection, makes most in the world question the gullibility of believers.

Conclusion: Just because something seems too far out of your box to believe, doesn’t mean that it isn’t true. As with all things, PUT EVERYTHING TO THE TEST! If it passes, hold on to it; if it fails, throw it away.

1 Cor 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.


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