His eye is on the sparrow. And I know he watches me. ~ Civilla D. Martin
“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
“The only bird I know is the, Maya.” A common statement I hear every time the topic of birds is brought up within my circle of friends. Yet, Jesus spoke about these birds in Scripture. The Eurasian Tree Sparrow can be spotted mostly in our highly urbanized cities and are considered a pest in rice fields. However, their value to the Lord cannot be undermined.
In his book, “The Birds Our Teachers”, John Stott writes:
One of the most crucial elements in human maturity is the development of a proper self-esteem. Some people have an inflated view of their own importance, while others have crippling inferiority feelings. In place of both extremes (having too high or too low s self-regard) we need to think of ourselves, the apostle Paul wrote, ‘with sober judgment’ (Romans 12:3). And in order to do this, we need to remember who we are, according to Scripture. On the one hand, we have dignity as human beings made in the image of God, and on the other depravity as sinners under the judgment of God. We are the products both of the creation and of the fall. This is the paradox of our humanness.
Of the two unbalanced extremes (superiority and inferiority), the second may well be the commoner today. Many people feel unwanted and unloved, and consider themselves to be worthless. So it is exceedingly important that Jesus spoke of our ‘value’ as human beings, and compared and contrasted it with the value of sparrows. ‘Don’t be afraid’, he said; ‘you are worth more than many sparrows’ (Matthew 10:31; Luke 12:7). He deliberately chose the most insignificant little creature he could think of, and then argued from the lesser to the greater. If not a single Sparrow ‘is forgotten by God’ (Luke 12:6), or ‘will fall to the ground’ apart from his knowledge and permission (Matthew 10:29), how much more will he remember and protect his human children?
This assurance grows when we recall that Sparrows have a poor reputation and are often regarded as useless and disposable. To begin with, they may be the commonest and most widely distributed of all land birds.
The universality of Sparrows is due mainly to their adaptability. They eat anything, and they nest everywhere. As for their diet, although they are mainly seed-eaters, they will in fact consume everything edible. As for their nesting sites, any hole or niche will do.
In addition to the apparent insignificance of sparrows, owing to their sheer numbers, some writers have spoken evil of their character.
These largely negative assessments of sparrows make Jesus’ positive reference to them all the more striking. For these little creatures, lacking both colorful plumage and musical song, are nevertheless cherished, remembered and protected by God.
The next time you see a Maya down the road or in your backyard, remember that these little creatures are valuable and not even one is forgotten by the Lord. But most of all, remember that you are much more valuable than the sparrow.