Last week, I raised my garage door and noticed something in the corner of the doorway I had not seen before. The wasps had started building a nest for their babies in a place they had deemed safe and out of the way. It is not uncommon to see wasp nests in the corners of doors, in the eaves of houses, in barns, and in many similar places. Sometimes, large nests will be built, and we do not notice their construction until the wasps start "defending" their little ones! We might not have any idea that they are building or what is going on until someone gets hurt. In my case, I noticed before getting stung, and a nearby shovel blade removed that nest in a second! Those wasps will have to start another nest somewhere else because they are not welcome here! I am sorry I didn't notice the nest sooner, but my family and I are thankful I acted.
Lessons From Wasps
As is common for me, my "teacher's mind" goes to physical lessons and then spiritual lessons to be learned from this event. I wondered, "Why did I not see this nest sooner?" We drive and walk in and out of this garage daily for various reasons. Why did I not see it until now? Perhaps I am so preoccupied with my own work that I don't notice the wasps' work going on. That is a mistake! At the same time, acting when I did might prevent someone (including me) from getting hurt later. While I know these wasps didn't choose this spot out of maliciousness, it is also true that there are places where wasps belong and places they don't belong! Yes, I get to make that decision that they don't belong at my house (Gen. 1:26-28)!
Spiritual Lessons From Wasps
Just as Solomon learned lessons from the ants, spiders, bears, dogs, lions, bees, oxen, birds, deer, swine, horses, lambs, goats, snakes, locusts, badgers, and cows (Prov.), there are some lessons we can learn from wasps! What spiritual lessons might I learn from wasps building their nest at my garage? Let's start by saying that just like a wasp nest, error creeps in quietly and does not try to draw attention to itself while it is developing. Jesus described false prophets as "wolves in sheep's clothing" (Matt. 7:15). This means they start as quiet as little sheep and try not to draw attention to themselves until it is too late! The apostle Paul warned of the same thing when speaking to the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:29-31). One spiritual lesson I learn is do not mistake quiet for pure motives.
Another lesson I learn is that, like a wasp nest, error will continue to grow if ignored. On the spiritual side, many seem to have the philosophy that if we leave sin and error alone, it will go away. We are often told, "don't rock the boat." However, if we leave sin alone, it will not go away. It will grow! Just like the wasp nest would have continued to get bigger if ignored, so also error will grow and overwhelm a person, a home, a church, and a nation (Prov. 14:34)!
Paul warned, "a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump" (I Cor. 5:6). This means the leaven permeates the dough and allows it to expand. Error will do this if left alone and not confronted. Again, Paul said when error filled Jerusalem, he and the other apostles did not allow it to go unanswered (Gal. 2:1-10). He then went to Antioch and confronted Peter over his hypocrisy (Gal. 2:11-17)! He did not wait to see what might happen to Peter and the others. Waiting for error to slow or stop is a foolish decision because it won't do that! Things get worse, not better, when we allow sin to remain, just like the wasp nest will only get bigger if we ignore its construction!
Finally, I mentioned earlier that I found the closest thing (a shovel) and scraped the nest off the garage. When I did that, the wasps weren't happy. They didn't want to leave where they were, but they had to leave. They weren't welcome here to build their nest, raise their young, and be a pest to those who live here.
My motivation for this was not because I hate wasps. Instead, the action was motivated by love for the family and their welfare. It is the same today when confronting those who teach falsely or practice error. My motivation is not a hatred of a person but "speaking the truth in love" (Eph. 4:15; Matt. 22:39). When I do this, though, those in error will not be happy because the truth contradicts them! When Jesus or the apostles confronted error, those who were wrong weren't happy, either (Lk. 4:28, 6:11; Acts 5:33)! Since "the servant is not greater than his Lord," then I know when I act like Jesus, the world will treat me the way they treated Him (Jn. 15:18-21). Those in error will not like what they are told, but in the end, they will understand it was said in a spirit of love and protection for those who are God's people (my brethren)!
The next time you observe wasps (or ants, spiders, bears, dogs, bees, oxen, lions, snakes, etc.), realize that not only do these things speak to God's diverse creation (Gen. 1-2), but they also teach us invaluable spiritual lessons when we take the time to observe.
Jarrod M. Jacobs