“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
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one
of them is forgotten by God.”
Did you catch that? That fifth sparrow is free. Sparrows were seen as so small, insignificant, worthless that the merchants were willing to throw in a fifth one for free just to be rid of it. There is something else to note from those verses though as well. Even though society and culture didn’t value them, God did. Jesus is the one talking in these two passages and he goes on to say,
“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid;
you are worth more than many sparrows.”
– Luke 12:7
What a treasured thing to say! He cares so much about the sparrows, that he promises not a single one is forgotten by Him, yet then He makes a point of telling us we are worth more than many sparrows. If that is true, how could He possibly forget about us? The beautiful fact of the matter is, He doesn’t forget. He even has our names engraved on the palms of his hands! (Isaiah 49:16)
In our society and culture today, we sometimes treat each other like those merchants treated the sparrows. Being so bold as to claim one human is worth more than another, and usually by way of trivial and temporal marks such as level of wealth, style of clothes, size of house, and social status or popularity level. This leaves many who don’t measure up enough in the eyes of our culture to be thrown to the side and forgotten about; or worse, bullied to the point they can’t see past the lies being thrown at them about their worth. The disabled, the poor, the addicts. The ones with a past, the ones struggling with their present. Those who speak differently or dress differently. The ones with special needs that make them stand out. Mere examples of a heartbreaking number of people who are priceless yet are made to believe they are worthless.
Maybe you can relate. Maybe you are a sparrow in your world, often overlooked and forgotten. I have been one in mine. I live with many chronic conditions that tend to confuse and overwhelm those around me, leading to most pushing me aside (sometimes subconsciously) to avoid having to think about it. It can be difficult to face the realities of a world different than your own, one with challenges you never thought of. Most solve this feeling of unease by trying to avoid the topic all together. If they keep their connections at the surface, they can appease their conscience by feeling as though they are being kind and inclusive, all while they refuse (consciously or not) to go much past a quick conversation or a short greeting upon running into the person. I have nothing against those who do this, I would be lying if I tried to claim I was never guilty of it myself. Human relationships are hard and when you throw in differences that pull you out of your comfort zone, they get even harder. It is just a fact of life.
At this point some of you might be asking, “So what can be done about it?” Are we to just shrug our shoulders and give up? Accept that this is how it is and get used to being, or knowing about, the sparrows of our society? Goodness gracious no! Instead we should take a note from a wise woman named Maya Angelou.
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then
when you know better, do better.”
Take note of the sparrows around you, yourself included if you can be counted among them, and remind yourself of what Jesus has to say. We might be “sparrows” to our society and culture. We might be worthless, insignificant, a bother… but to the Creator of the universe we are unforgettable! The maker of the stars looks at us with love and devotion, He doesn’t forget us or consider us less valuable. He has numbered our hairs and written our name on his hands! We are indeed priceless in His eyes, a masterpiece of His own careful design. Let that knowledge fill you up heart deep. Soak it in, breath it deep. Then, let it overflow in your life in how you see and treat those you meet as well. Together, we can help the “5th sparrows” of our world feel seen and loved, ourselves included.