Lessons of the Sparrow

by Lynn on May 15, 2013

blackwaterphoto.comWhat a busy week this has been! If you’ve been watching the news, you know of the multiple scandals, congressional hearings, jury verdicts and all other sorts of trouble and mayhem our country is embroiled in. My goodness, it makes my head spin around just trying to keep up with the latest breaking details! Jesus told us to expect trouble, and trouble is what we’ve got in abundance! Yes, our world is a place of turmoil, but that doesn’t mean we need to be. When addressing said trouble, Jesus also told us not to fret about it.

As Christians, we know that this life is not all there is. Eventually, Christ will reign and the chaos will come to an end. But while we are confident about the future, life in the here and now can be unsettling. The Bible tells us not to be afraid because God loves us, values us and watches over us.

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, NIV

During a trip to Disneyland a few years back, my sister and I stopped at an outdoor restaurant on Main Street to have some lunch. Birds are abundant in the park, especially where food is served and where visitors routinely share their lunches with them. While watching the sparrows flit around tables on the patio, our attention was drawn to one particular bird that had flown back into the planter. The bird had settled into the dichondra grass and we noticed he was busy with activity. Wondering what he was up to, we both peered over the planter wall to get a better look. We watched as the little bird darted from leaf to leaf of the ground cover. Each time he stopped, he drank the small drop of water held in each bowl-shaped leaf; moisture presumably left over from early morning watering or dew. The dichondra was like a meadow full of tiny cups, holding just enough water to quench the thirst of a little bird. Even though the day was quite warm, this small sparrow was refreshed because of the design of the ground cover foliage. How awesome that God would provide for the birds in this way.

dichondra

The encounter we had with our little sparrow friend reminded us of God’s promises to provide for us as well. The same sentiment was beautifully described by Civilla D. Martin, when she penned this favorite hymn in 1905.

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
(His Eye is on the Sparrow, Lyrics by Civilla D. Martin, 1905, in the public domain)

After describing the attentive care he gives to his creation, God makes a point to tell us that he values us even more. In other verses he tells us not to worry about things the world worries about, but to depend upon him to take care of us.

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” Luke 12:22-31, NIV

The birds don’t fret about the world, and neither should we. If God is attentive to the thirst of a tiny bird on a warm day at Disneyland, how much more is he concerned for our well being?

One day soon Jesus will return and make everything right. In the meantime, we can take a lesson from the sparrow, by giving our worries to Christ and resting in his faithfulness.

sparrow

On the journey toward Home,

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