Years ago my young nephew came to visit for several days with his suitcase in tow. As soon as he arrived he opened it and pulled out his most prized possession at the time — his sling shot! He told me all about his plans to shoot shoot starlings, black birds, and sparrows, the only birds his mother permitted him to shoot — in other words, seemingly worthless birds.
As he was chatting away my thoughts drifted to what Jesus said about the sparrows: “Aren’t five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. Indeed, the hairs of your head are all counted. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows!” (Luke 12:6-7 HCSB)
Evidently sparrows were worth little to the people in Jesus’ day, too. But He used them to illustrate to His disciples how important we are to God. If God cares that even one lowly sparrow is shot to the ground by a little boy’s sling shot, how much more does He care about what happens to us?
It’s amazing to think God is aware when each sparrow falls to the ground, and that He knows how many hairs are on our heads even though that number is constantly changing. If He knows those seemingly insignificant details, then He knows every other detail about us. There is no one else who knows us that intimately, or who cares about us that much, to want to know minute by minute how many hairs we have! That kind of love and interest is incredible and can’t be matched by any human love.
When sparrows make their home in our bluebird boxes, we’re disappointed. After all, they were intended for the beautiful bluebirds, not the common brown sparrow. But God doesn’t differentiate between the two. He made them both, gave them both a purpose, and made sure each one has what it needs.
It’s the same with people. Although we humans mistakenly value one person over another at times, God never does. He created each one of us, loves us each equally, and has given each of us a purpose.
Far too often we lose sight of how much God loves us and how much our lives matter. The enemy of our souls loves to convince us God doesn’t love us because of something we did. Or we’re unlovable because someone dumped us for someone else. Or we aren’t valuable because our appearance doesn’t match Hollywood standards. Or our lives don’t matter because we don’t have children or an “important” career.
In our discouragement and loneliness we don’t realize these are lies. We forget God designed us and the circumstances of our lives and chose our spot in history long before time began, and we allow life to slip by without purpose and meaning. This is not at all what God intended for us! Jesus said He came to give us abundant life (John 10:10).
In the very same verse he also warned that Satan tries to steal, kill and destroy our abundant life. There is a reason Satan is called the father of lies. Although he is not powerful, he is deceptive, and deception is the tool he uses to try to destroy us. Sadly, many times it works, at least in part — we believe his lies and lose interest in the amazing life God has given us, or fritter it away with meaningless activities.
The next time you see a bird, let it be a reminder of Jesus’ words that He loves you and provides for you so much more than He does that bird, for whom He’s provided every provision it needs. And the next time you comb your hair and a few hairs drop to the floor, remember God is keeping track of how many are left on your head. He loves you that much and is that interested in you and every part of your life! And then let that knowledge motivate you to love Him in return and to pledge your life to serve Him in the unique calling He has given you.