Best of Daily Reflections: God Cares About You More Than You Can Fathom
“What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”
One of the things I most love about Texas is the vast, varied collection of wild birds in my adopted home state. I’ve read that Texas has more species of birds than any other state, and I’m apt to believe it. The colors and sounds of wild birds, not to mention their playful antics, delight my soul.
Sparrows, however, aren’t terribly exciting. As I write this reflection, ironically enough, I’m sitting on my back porch, watching a half-dozen sparrows flitter around a bird feeder. They’re small and indistinct, mostly brown in color. They chirp a bit, but don’t have a particularly interesting song. I’m happy to feed the local sparrow population. At least they don’t hog up the bird seed like those dratted doves. But, to be honest, sparrows are pretty much a dime a dozen.
That’s the way it was in the time of Jesus, who, to my knowledge, never visited Texas, though he did know a thing or two about birds. In Luke 12:6 he asks, “What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins?” That’s even less than a dime a dozen. Sparrows, it turns out, were sold in the first-century marketplace as food, but only to the poor, who couldn’t afford a better meal. Sparrows had very little nutritional or financial value.
Yet, Jesus explains, “God does not forget a single one of them” (12:6). Even something as insignificant as a sparrow matters to God. This, it turns out, is good news for us: “So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows” (12:7). At first glance, this doesn’t seem to be such good news after all. If sparrows are worth next to nothing, a whole flock of them doesn’t add up to much. Is Jesus saying that God cares for us, but only a little bit?
Not at all. That’s the point of the cryptic line nestled in the middle of the sparrow analogy: “And the very hairs on your head are all numbered” (12:7). Numbered, that is, by God. God knows everything about you and cares about every part of you, even the individual hairs on your individual head. That’s how much you matter to God...a whole lot! Thus, if God cares even about a relatively worthless sparrow, how much more does he care about you? That is Jesus’ point here. God cares about you far more than you can fathom!
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What helps you to know that God cares for you? Do you really believe that God cares for you more than you can count? If you truly believed this, what different would it make in your life?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, even though I delight in the birds of your creation, I must admit that I don’t often think of you as sharing in this joy. I’m encouraged by the thought that you care, not just for the beautiful birds like cardinals, goldfinches, and blue jays, but also for ordinary, everyday sparrows. Indeed, if you care so much for them, how much more do you care for me!
Help me to live each day with the reassurance and encouragement of your care. May I remember that you are concerned, not just about the big, important parts of my life, but also about what seems small and insignificant. Help me to live each moment as if every square inch of creation mattered to you...because it does. Amen.