The Ordinary Sparrow, Not the Beautiful Cardinal

I love the view from my comfortable “ole” recliner. I don’t even have to move my head to see the birdfeeder Phyllis’ dad built for us. I merely lift my eyes from my laptop computer and can enjoy an array of our feathered friends: bright red cardinals, gorgeous gold finches, brilliant vermillion flycatchers, tiny hummingbirds, hawks, blue birds, doves, and I don’t how many others.

But I do know this. We have more sparrows than all the other birds combined. Bird experts claim over a billion sparrows are flying around our planet with 245 different kinds of sparrows worldwide. That makes them the most prolific bird on the planet. And filling up our feeders makes me think all billion of them take turns feasting from our deck.

In Jesus’ time, like today, sparrows were so common that poor people bought them for their sacrificial gifts because they couldn’t afford anything else.  It’s no wonder Jesus used the ordinary sparrow, not the beautiful cardinal or powerful eagle, as one of the most memorable illustrations in His greatest sermon on the mount.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.” Matt. 10:29  What comforting words those must have been to the multitude of ordinary people who listened to Jesus on that hillside overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Too often we all feel like sparrows—ordinary, insignificant, lost in the crowd, and forgotten.

Feeling insignificant is without a doubt one of the most widespread and painful problems of our time. It affects not only retired seniors but active young people and everyone in between.

In our day, the media would sometimes make you think that the only people who count in this world are the super-stars, the award-winners, the most unusual or weird birds among us.  With so much attention on the extraordinary, ordinary sparrow-like people often feel like crying, “Does anybody care about me? Do I count at all?”

Those whom God chose to write about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, all emphasized that Jesus gave His life for everyone, rich and poor, young and old, cardinals and sparrow. Every single person counts. Everyone, and that means you, is precious in His sight.

I believe that’s one of the reasons Jesus put the common sparrow above all those super-star birds. He gave the sparrow center stage that day He taught the crowd on the side of the mountain to remind all of us ordinary birds that no matter how forgotten we may feel, God does not forget us. He cares for us and always has His eye on us.  

One of my favorite hymns, His Eye Is on the Sparrow by Jessi Colter, reminds me of Jesus’ comforting words.

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come?

Why should my heart feel lonely and long for Heaven and home?

When Jesus is my portion, a constant friend is He,

His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me,

His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.

So, every time you see a sparrow, whisper this little prayer, “Thank you Father for caring for ordinary sparrows like me.”

Author Info

Bill Nichols

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