Many of you may be familiar with the hymn or even this passage of scripture concerning sparrows. I always am excited when God or other writers of the Bible use birds as illustrations. Jesus uses birds many times in His teachings. One good example is during the Sermon on the Mount of Olives.
During this sermon Jesus speaks of many spiritually relevant topics, including Love, Retaliation, Prayer, Wealth, and Judging. In the passage about wealth (Matthew 6:19-24) Jesus says that worldly possessions should not be our main priority. Jesus says “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (NKJV). Jesus isn’t condemning the wealthy. He is saying that the things of this earth are only temporary and when this earth passes away it would be better that you have your faith in Jesus and your spiritual deeds than your perishable earthly possessions. Jesus goes on to say, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” If your main goal is to accumulate wealth and worldly possessions than your heart is in the world and will perish with it. Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (mammon is earthly possessions). We are given free will. We have the choice to serve the world or serve God. The world may seem fun but it is only a fleeting experience. Although we are of this world, we are all eternal beings. We can choose to be eternal and build our eternity on something temporary, the world, or on Jesus, God’s son, whose way leads to eternal life.
One side affect of serving the world is worry. We all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and we all worry. Jesus knows this and comforts us with these words: “do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing. Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” How can you be faithful and serve God when you are too busy worrying about something that He has already taken care of. Jesus continues, “Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add on cubit to his stature?” Worrying does not add to your health or your stature. In fact, it can be quite detrimental to both. Jesus also adds the encouraging note that God, the Father, has us as a higher priority. Jesus continues to say, “consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” Jesus assures us that we are important in the Father’s eyes. Jesus speaks to God’s power and how He can make something as temporary as an herbaceous plant more beautifully adorned then one of the greatest rulers of the known world. Jesus points out that the root of worry is a lack of faith. Jesus didn’t pick out a certain group but called out everyone, for we all are sinful and of little faith. Jesus ends this passage with more reassurance, “For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Our heavenly Father knows our needs and He is faithful.
Jesus mentions birds again when sending out His apostles to preach. He says, “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” God is merciful and loving but also just. Those who refuse Him, He will in turn refuse them.
God knows us and loves us. God the Father sent His son, Jesus, to save us. I have alluded to the book of Romans a few times here and will give you to verses that are necessary in understanding how to seek first the kingdom of God. Romans 3:23-24 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
I leave you with a chorus:
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.