"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father." Matthew 10:29
In his highly regarded book "The Tin Drum" Gunter Grass speaks of a man who could not make up his mind about sparrows. As he hunted them for pastime, he carried ammunition in one pocket of his jacket and bird food in the other.
Lowly creatures that they are, sparrows, in the comedian's words, "get no respect." Many people dislike seeing them at the bird feeders, preferring the more exciting and more colorful birds. Yet sparrows, despite their drab feathers, are cheerful, chatty, and sociable birds, so unlike the quarrelsome blue jays or the greedy starlings.
Visitors of old said that sparrows gathered in great numbers in the temple area in Jerusalem and on the Mount of Olives. That may have been the reason why Jesus spoke of them. He asked: "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. ... So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows" (Matthew 10:29, 31).
Jesus is speaking about the providence of our heavenly Father. He encourages this logic of faith -- a reasoning from the lesser to the greater: If God cares about the sparrows, He surely will do the same -- and more -- for us. The songwriter stresses:
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He's watching me.
The apostle Paul appeals to God's great love in a similar way when he writes: "If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all -- how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:31-32). Here the apostle reasons from the greater to the lesser: God had given us the great gift, His own Son, as the bread of life from heaven for our souls. From that we can draw the conclusion: The heavenly Father will provide also the lesser gifts of life. He conveys this truth to us through His messengers, even the lowly sparrows.
PRAYER: Strengthen my faith in Your divine providence, O Lord, especially Your promise to fill all my needs in Christ. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)