On my walk one morning recently I came upon a dead sparrow at the edge of the sidewalk. I knew that none of its relatives would come forward to mourn this sparrow’s death and no kind hand would provide the honor of a decent burial for it. How much value then does it have?
I have since recalled Jesus’ words about the value of sparrows. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father” (Matthew 10:29).
A penny in Jesus’ times set a sparrow’s value at next to nothing. Yet Jesus said that no sparrow’s death was beyond the knowledge and care of the Father who rules the universe.
His point was to declare with a picture that even the most common and insignificant things in our world are within God’s purview and care. He is all-knowing and everywhere-present, and he is engaged.
For Jesus to make his point even more compelling he added, “And even the hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Matthew 10:30) What feature of our lives could be less consequential? Yet this daring word further underlines vividly our Lord’s assurance of God’s care even over our life’s slightest detail.
It is called Providence, which means “God governs and guides in all the affairs of his universe.” He is not only sovereign over all; he is actively engaged in all. Thus his assurance to those who believe and submit to his will: “Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:31).
Jesus’ words are bracing when grasped in faith. Our God is not an absentee landlord who has set the world in place but leaves it to run by itself. The world is not ruled by Chance, nor governed by the Fates. He takes note of its every detail, though we don’t always understand his ways.
Yet, for some sincere believers who aren’t always sure of God’s care, can we further outline the path of faith?
Remember that God is the “maker and sustainer of all things”. The Psalmist affirms: “He sets the earth on its foundations; / it can never be moved” (Psalm 104:5). And “The lions roar for their prey/ and seek their food from God” (Psalm 104:21).
Still more, remember Calvary. Our Lord’s physical suffering was brutal. Even beyond this, however, was the suffering of being separated from the Father as he bore the sins of the world. He cried out: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1). Bystanders could be excused for thinking God did not care.
But, the Father did not forsake him. In due time he resurrected him from death, bringing him forth from the grave triumphant (Acts 2:25-28). And God’s care is just as certainly there for us, whatever troubles afflict us — even unto death!
Jesus assures us that God our Father sees every sparrow that falls. “So don’t be afraid;” he says to the beleaguered, “you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:31).
Image credit: Jaydot (via flickr.com)