Gospel according to the postage stamp

Published 7:30 am Sunday, July 10, 2022

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As of July 10, 2022, the U.S. Postal Service will increase the price of a postage stamp for a one ounce letter to 60 cents. Domestic Postcards will increase to 44 cents. Forever stamps are just that…forever.

One of my hobbies is stamp collecting. I started my collection as a young person with stamps found on envelopes mailed from foreign countries. Missionaries overseas would write letters to churches in the States asking for prayer and financial support. My dad, who was a minister, would give them to me.

The colorful squares and rectangles were little windows that gave me a glimpse of a big world. The miniature pictures featured foreign government leaders and various languages. Some stamps showed animals, flowers, holidays, and other aspects of different cultures. My collection includes stamps from countries that do not exist now or their nation’s name has changed.

So what does a postage stamp have to do with the Gospel? I once read an object lesson for Sunday School teachers that name some interesting comparisons between a postage stamp and a missionary’s task.

Consider that a postage stamp has four corners. It can send a message inside an envelope to the four corners of the earth the way a missionary takes the message of Christ to anyone on the face of the earth.

The Gospel, which literally means “Good News,” is the teaching of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. It’s the mission of a missionary to tell the Gospel message to anyone anywhere who has not heard it. One of Jesus’ last commandments to his followers was, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel…” Mark 16:15.

A missionary needs our prayer and financial support to go to a foreign country. In other words, there’s a price to pay. Similarly, a stamp cannot send a message unless the sender pays the price for it to be sent.

To preach the Gospel in another country, a missionary must board an airplane or boat to travel to their destination. A stamp will not travel anywhere until someone puts it on an envelope and sends it on its way. George Bernard Shaw once said, “Words are only postage stamps delivering the object for you to unwrap.”

In spite of different cultures and difficult circumstances, missionaries carry out the task that God has called them to do. It also takes “stickability” for a stamp to stay on its journey. Someone once said, “Be like a postage stamp.  Stick to a thing until you get there.”

As followers of Christ, you and I need to make it a priority for everyone to hear the “Good News.” Jesus said, “and this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations…” Matthew 24:14.