“Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31)
I watched a video a couple years ago that stuck with me. In it, a starving dog was rescued. He was very literally skin and bones, starving for food and love. A couple found him on the side of the road, took him home, shaved him, cleaned him, took him to the vet and fed him . . . a LOT. It took a number of months, but finally you see him rolling around in the yard with the other dog of the family playing and happy as he could possibly be, all filled out, furry and full of joy.
You’ve probably seen similar videos on YouTube. Whether it’s a kitty, a dog or some other animal, someone takes pity on them, rescues them and they live happily ever after. We see these videos and they pull at our heart strings. Dogs and kitties shouldn’t be abused or abandoned. It makes us sad and sometimes angry.
What about birds? Okay, maybe the occasional pet parrot, but we don’t really hear when they’re abandoned, do we? When adversity strikes our feathered friends, we probably know little to nothing about it – especially birds that are wild and fly freely around our neighborhoods. If they’re sick or become injured maybe, occasionally, a human will find one and nurse them back to health, but more often they simply drop to the forest floor and die.
Do you know what is considered the most common bird in nature? It’s called a house sparrow. It’s a common, garden variety bird. They’re prolific. A dime a dozen, so to speak. Who cares what happens to a tiny, common, brown sparrow?
It blows my mind that the Creator of the universe – who is holding the universe together by His word and reins in world governments — has time to care about the most minute details of His creation. But He does. In a parallel passage to Matthew’s quoted above, Jesus says,
“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows,” (Luke 12:6-7).
The copper coin was worth like 1/16 of a day’s wage during Jesus’ time. Not a lot. Jesus quantified the “worth” of a sparrow and it didn’t amount to much.
The word, “forgotten,” can also mean to neglect. God doesn’t neglect sparrows. Sparrows!
And a note in my study Bible regarding the phrase in Matthew, “Apart from your Father’s will,” says, “Not merely, ‘without His [God’s] knowledge’; Jesus was teaching that God providentially controls the timing and circumstances of such insignificant events as the death of a sparrow.”
And then Jesus comes back to His disciples and says, in effect, “If God cares about a tiny, common, garden-variety sparrow, you needn’t fear, because that same meticulous God cares infinitely more about you. You can be sure He’s watching out for you in any and every circumstance.”
Just think of it! The very hairs on our heads are numbered! God knows that number (and new ones come and the brush pulls an old one out – He keeps track of these things!). And if these – the minutia of our lives – are important to Him, we can be certain that whether we’re concerned over something going on in the life of one of our children, or we are low on food with no money to pay for more, or a piece of technology we really need has gone awry, or our heart is aching because our spouse has spoken angrily to us or one of our parents is aging and infirm . . . Jesus knows. He cares. He’s right there to walk with us through any given situation.
These thoughts comfort me greatly, and I hope they comfort you, too. So if, today, your heart is heavy because of a burden you’re bearing, think about our Father’s attention to this tiny little bird, and then about how very deeply and passionately what is weighing your heart down, today, matters to Him. He knows about it. He’s right there to talk to and weep with, and He longs for you to turn to Him.