The value of sparrows - 10 October 2018

Xanthe Hancox

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  Matthew 10:29-31

Around the time Jesus was talking to his disciples about living faithfully for God, sparrows were sold in the marketplace, and they were so cheap you could get two for a few cents. That’s about as valuable as a couple of chappies.

People may not care much about sparrows, but God does. In today's Bible reading Jesus seems to indicate that a sparrow dies when God has willed it to die. The original Greek text, however, does not mention the will of God here. It simply says, literally, “Not one sparrow will fall to the ground without your Father.” To make more sense of this, translators added a reference to God's will, but perhaps the original reading is better.

It assures us that God does not ultimately intend for us to suffer but that he is with us in all the painful experiences we go through. Sparrows and all other living creatures will eventually suffer and die. But as Luke's recording of this teaching puts it, the comforting news is that not one sparrow “is forgotten by God” (Luke 12:6).

Many of Jesus’ listeners were poor and worn down; they ­often felt forgotten and worthless, a lot like a dead sparrow in the marketplace. The powerful, well connected, and religious elites of the day virtually ignored them. But in God’s eyes, each of them – and each of us – is so valuable that he sent his Son to save us.

Jesus teaches us here that even though bad things may happen—and God does allow that—still God is right there beside us. God is with us to comfort, refine, and reshape our lives for our good (Romans 8:28). Trusting in God will not solve all the mysteries of his will. But it does confirm the grace of God's presence.

Prayer: Help me to realize today how much I am worth to you. Help all who are suffering to know that you are with them. Use us to show them your love. Amen.



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