Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Just an Ordinary Sparrow

As I sat eating my breakfast before the sliding glass doors of my kitchen this quiet morning, I watched two sparrows hopping along the deck, hoping for a stray seed. They are tiny birds, unremarkable in their coloring or markings. Sparrows are a common bird as well. Everywhere I go, I see them flitting around, ever-hungry and searching for a morsel. Even their call is little more than a plain old 'cheep'. When it comes to birds, especially when compared to the beautiful but nasty blue jay or the brilliant red cardinal, there is nothing extraordinary about a sparrow. Just your plain, run-of-the-mill kind of bird.

However, the sparrow had its moment in glory when Jesus used it to demonstrate the involvement of God in our lives. As Jesus prepared His disciples for their lives as messengers of the gospel, He knew the obstacles and persecution which lay in their future. He also knew that the future was not to be feared in light of the security of an ever-watchful Heavenly Father.

He told them, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul . . . Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs on your head are numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” (Matt 10:28-31)

Jesus was communicating the intimate involvement God has with His creation. Even a sparrow, so common as to be sold two for a penny in the marketplace, was ever-kept within the careful sights of the Heavenly Father. Not one would drop to the ground without Him knowing or even orchestrating its circumstances. Jesus then went a step further to bring home His point: God knows us better than we even know ourselves. Do you know how many hairs are on your head? God does.

I can’t help but be thankful that Jesus used a sparrow, of all birds, to bring home His point. A plain, unremarkable bird, numbering in the millions all around the world. Just like me.

There is nothing that makes me stand out from the crowd. I am not important nor am I famous. I do not have much money or any kind of enviable possessions. I have no remarkable talent or reason people would be drawn to me. If I were to stand in a crowd of Annapolitans, no one would ever pick me out as someone worthy of recognition or even concern.

But I am important to God. This middle-aged woman, with body parts headed south, extra weight firmly attached to her middle, hair that needs a touch up every five weeks to hide the gray, is important to God. He knows how many hairs (in ever-decreasing number) are on my head. He knows my thoughts before I think them. He cares when I am hurting and holds my tears in His hand. I matter to Him.

This is a concept I still struggle to get my mind around. Yet it is truth-- and I count myself very blessed to be regarded as more valuable than many sparrows. That the God of the universe, creator of all things, would bother to know me so intimately boggles my mind. I cannot make sense of it, but I can bask in the fact, knowing I am loved so completely.


Heather Nicole said...

that verse (and the thought you so beautifully expressed) is one of my favorites, in that it brings such a comforting truth to mind. did I ever tell you that once, during a frightening moment in my life, when I began to despair, a sparrow came and landed on my knee. a wave of peace come over me as I reminded that God really cares for me, loves me, and will always be with me, nearer than my own thoughts, forever.
"his eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me."

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, Julie!!!

Van said...

I can appreciate your comments about sparrows. Amazing how Jesus always chose the common to share His most meaningful messages. I will be humming His Eye is on the Sparrow and I know He watches me. Love that song and the story behind the song writer only furthers God's love for the commoner. Looking out for the sparrows...