Sometimes I can read the Bible and miss something totally obvious. For example, have you ever noticed that Jesus tells of God’s care of the sparrows two different ways? Matthew records the version of this story where Jesus points out that two sparrows cost one penny, but when Luke tells it, he notes that five sparrows cost two pennies. I’m no mathematician, but if two sparrows cost one penny, and five sparrows cost two pennies, then there is one sparrow thrown in for free. That means that there is one sparrow that is completely worthless. We’ll call it the odd sparrow. And note this: God cares for the odd sparrow.
Think about it. Wouldn’t it be sufficient for Him to tell us that if God cares for birds, surely He cares for us? Yet, He goes even further to tell us that He not only cares for birds, but He cares even for the worthless ones. He knows even when they fall to the ground. If God knows when the odd sparrow falls to the ground, how much more certain is God’s knowledge towards you? If God cares for the odd sparrow, how much greater is His care for you? If God finds value in the worthless sparrow, how much more value does God find in you? Christ did not die for animals or angels, but He died for us. The One who knows the final day of the odd sparrow, knows your days, “when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16). And we say with David, “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand” (Psalm 139:17-18). Precious indeed.
Be encouraged by God’s tender care for the odd sparrow. Our God is mighty, transcendent, and full of power, yet, He cares for us. In light of His gracious care, let us cast our cares on Him (1 Peter 5:6-7). God’s care for the odd sparrow serves as the exclamation point on the sentence, “You are of more value than many sparrows” (Matt 10:31).
© Jacob Crouch 2023
*Thankful for the biography of George Muller where I first heard this.
4 thoughts on “God Cares for the Odd Sparrow”
I just read this passage in my Bible reading yesterday. 1 Sam 15:3 Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey. It’s a struggle to reconcile the many commands of God to kill people including children, and then to kill animals and then to command to sacrifice sparrows with the idea that God cares about worthless sparrows. But reconcile it I must, because I have faith in God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Thanks for reading! It’s hard for us to realize that what we see in passages like what you referenced in 1 Samuel is what we actually deserve. God is holier than we can imagine and we are more sinful than we can imagine. God’s punishment is right and fair. And the more we understand this, the more sweet it is to know that He cares for us. This is what makes the gospel so amazing. We deserve God’s wrath and punishment, YET He loves us and sent His Son to take our punishment on the cross. His resurrection confirms it all. What a great God we serve!
One of my favorite verses, but I had never considered the extra sparrow. Thank you so much for sharing!
Thanks for reading!