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Sparrows For Jesus

By Pastor Phillip Howle
web posted June 18, 2014

RELIGION – I have publicly chronicled my former near polarizing fear of hummingbirds. But through much prayer and confidence in Christ, I am overcoming it now. One of the things that I enjoy looking at is aviaries. They have one at the Trinity Nursing Home and at Parker Elementary. They are just full of noisy and brightly colored birds. I have also enjoyed going to visit the Raptor Exhibit at Georgia Southern University.  It is full of large, dangerous, and carnivorous birds! But do you know what was absent from the Raptor exhibit? Sparrows. 

As birds go, sparrows are not important enough to warrant a special cage. No one drives an hour and half to see sparrows. They have no extraordinary features or awesome abilities.

Sparrows were no more valuable or highly thought of in Jesus’ day either. I have read that sparrows were occasionally used as food for the poor. They were sold two for a penny. I have never seen a “Save the Sparrows” bumper sticker or lobby in Washington. I mean who really cares for those little birds today? But my Lord Jesus took notice of them.  He notes in Matthew 10:29-31 “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  (30)  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  (31) Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Notice Jesus says that not one of those little birds falls to the ground apart from the will of God. Their creator knows them and knows when they take their last flight. God cares about His sparrows. He made them. He endowed them with the power to fly. He supplies them with worms and bugs to eat. There are millions upon millions of sparrows in the world, and God knows each by name.

What is odd is why God chose the sparrow when a much cooler bird would be the Peregrine Falcon. It eats other birds and has been recorded flying at 240 miles per hour! But Jesus chose a little ordinary sparrow.  Why? Because Jesus wants us to know that if God is as personally concerned about a creature as unimpressive and insignificant as the sparrow, how much more must He care about the only creatures who are made in His image and who He sent His own Son to die for! If God takes time to oversee the life and death of a tiny bird, how much more indeed must He watch over you! This makes it clear that it is not exceptionally worthy people that Jesus loves, but His love is exceptional in that He loves those of no value at all. His love is what gives us our worth and value as people. Furthermore, because He loves all people, all people have worth and value to Him and should have to us as well.

Jesus then puts it even more graphically when He says that “But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  (31) Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matt. 10:30–31). I have heard that there are more than 140,000 hairs on the average head!  While some of you have a great deal less, God is still keenly aware of them all or where all of them went!  So if you find yourself wondering how God feels about you and the thought about God being crazy in love with you bothers you, then stop and think about the sparrows.

Let me be honest, I stand in the pulpit every week and I tell people that God loves them. I don’t question that at all.  But in my own life with my own failures, it is at times very hard for me to say “Phillip, God loves you and God is crazy about you.” I mean, I know me better than anyone else and God knows me even better than that. It is hard for me not to think that I have to try to be better or try harder or do more to be a better Phillip to be loved by God.  I am liberated and loved when I think about the Sparrows.

God’s love for you was Cleary and perfectly shown at the cross! His love is certain, settled, signed, sealed and delivered. “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5).We need that kind of guarantee.  I know that your heart throbs with desire to be loved like that. You can feel that love right now. Read Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Charles Spurgeon remarked that “In math, if you divide an infinite number by any number, no matter how large, you still have an infinite quotient. So Jesus' love, being infinite, even though it is divided up for every person on earth, is still infinitely poured out on each one of us!” You are infinitely loved by Jesus!

But why don’t you feel that or experience that love? Jerry Bridges writes that “The daily experience of Christ’s love is linked to our obedience to Him. It is not that His love is conditioned on our obedience. That would be legalism. But our experience of His love is dependent upon our obedience.” Think about, it is when my boys disobey and are punished when they will turn to me and say “You don’t love me!” We are the same with God. It is in our obedience that we more fully feel and experience His love for us. The reality is as an old Puritan Thomas Watson put it “We may force our Lord to punish us, but we will never have to force Him to love us. That’s His nature.”

Be loved and let that love drive your obedience!

Pastor Phillip

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