What About the Sparrows?
March 1, 2016
There are so many sparrows!! Recently, sitting in my office at home, I noticed a rather large flock of sparrows descend upon our bird feeders. Their presence and habits captivated my interest for awhile. I got to thinking; what can we learn from them? After all, they are God=s creation and they are here for a purpose. A few months ago, we talked about the blackbirds, but sparrows are different.
So, let=s think of some of the characteristics of the sparrows and see if there is something we can learn from them. Can sparrows be compared with people?! Let=s see. Suppose we compare sparrows with the common people we see all about us. They are just there. They are the people it may be easy for us to overlook because they don’t seem, at least to us, to be exceptional in any way. Our tendency may be to avoid them and let them fend for themselves.
Consider the following:
Sparrows are plentiful. It seems no matter where you go there are sparrows. They are in barns, garages, open areas, about our houses, and certainly in our bird feeders. Common people are all about us too. Often we don’t see them, but they are there. On first thought, they seem to add little or nothing of value to our lives so we tend to ignore them. Yet, did not the Lord Jesus die for everybody=s sins? In the sight of God, are they not just as precious to Him as we think ourselves to be? Let=s remember, AFor there is no respect of persons with God@ (Rom. 2:11).
James speaks to this need when he says, AMy brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons@ (James 2:1). If we should have such respect or partiality, James concludes, AAre ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?@ (James 2:4).
As believers, then, let=s see all the people about us. Let=s not draw wrong conclusions about them because they are different from us in certain ways. It=s so easy to be critical of those who differ from us! The problem is, criticism doesn=t witness to the presence of Christ in our lives. It doesn=t witness to the needs people about us may have. We don’t necessarily have to agree with them, but don’t we have to love them and minister to them as God gives us opportunity?
Sparrows are not very colorful. Most of us like the gold finches, blue birds, cardinals, and other colorful birds. We spend money and effort to feed and house them and make them welcome. (It is a wonderful hobby!) But sparrows just show up on their own! Often, at best, we just tolerate them. We make no special provision for them.
What about the people about us we may not consider attractive, the ones who are not so colorful, so to speak. ? How do we treat them? Do we go out of our way to welcome them, provide for them, and make them feel a part of our personal fellowship? Our church? To fail to do so is to fail in our ministry to both them and to Christ. Jesus said in reference to ministering to others, A…In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me@ (Matt. 25:40). Then, regarding the failure to minister to others, Jesus said, A...In as much as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me@ (Matt. 25:45). Can we say AOuch?@
Sparrows are sometimes a nuisance. They get in the way of our efforts to get our Awork@ done or to be comfortable. At best, we shew them away. We don’t want to put up with them. They are so inconvenient! I wonder, are there some people about us whom we consider inconvenient, people who consume our time and effort and just seem to get in our way?
What are we to do with them? We could try to ignore them, but that often doesn=t work. We could brush them off with inconsiderate comments, we could refuse to fellowship with them except as we may be forced to. We could perhaps even talk to others about them and make our own little conspiracy about them. After all, if we can get others to agree with us, it often makes us feel better!
Maybe it would be helpful to remember what we were to Jesus before we came to Him for salvation. Let=s see - we were unsightly sinners! For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). There was nothing in us to recommend ourselves to God. Paul reminds us, They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness (Rom. 3:12-14). Need we go on?! Paul does, by the way, go on to list many more of our ungodly doings before we knew the Lord Jesus as Savior.
Sparrows are sometimes messy. Their nests are not the most attractive and they often leave a trail of debris that we are left to clean up if they are close to our dwellings. Perhaps we grumble as we seek to clean up after them.
Hmm! Does God maybe place people in our lives that we may consider to be messy? For whatever the reason, they are unattractive to us. We may try to avoid them or maybe we try to correct them. The issue is really not their welfare, but our comfort! We don’t want to be bothered, maybe even embarrassed by our association with them. We don’t like the way they dress, their associations, attitudes, and a whole host of other things, so assume we are better off if we avoid them as much as possible.
Consider, are there some people you try to avoid when God would have you to minister to them in some way? Are there some people you don’t care for so you shun them? A question - for whom did Jesus die? Did He just die for the nice, clean ones?
Sparrows (at least to the ears of many people) don’t have a nice melodic song like many other birds. Consider the song of the meadow lark. How delightful! Or what about the blue bird or the wren? But the sparrow?! He chirps, but it=s not a chirp that delights many ears. To the point, are there not many people who do not sing a pleasant tune? I don’t refer here to the gift of singing, but to the chatter made by many that is sometimes less than pleasant. They interject their conversation and actions into our lives and we consider it unpleasant. They invade our space uninvited and that makes us uncomfortable. Someone has well said, AIf the interruptions of life offend me, I know nothing of calvary love.
Consider the many times Jesus was interrupted. They came to Him for the ministry only He could give. Maybe it was for learning, or healing, or fellowship, but He ministered to those who came to Him. People sometimes come to us because of the special needs in their lives. Do we sometimes too readily dismiss them?
This is not to say that we have to agree with everybody. It we did that, we would have no special ministry or witness to anybody. The message of Christ is singular, that is, there is only one way of salvation. ANeither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved@ (Acts 4:12). Still, when it comes to accepting people and ministering to them, do we not have to be merciful and gracious? Isn=t that an expression of the Person of Christ Himself?
Lest we forget, le’s look at God’s care for the sparrows:
They are part of God=s creation. Since He created them, there must be some purpose for them. They must fulfill something of His will in His grand scheme of all things. Can we be content with that? Can we acknowledge that God does all things well and we really have no right to find fault with His creation? However, we may have to deal with the consequences of having so many sparrows in our space. We may have to sometimes shoo them away and clean their nests out of our bluebird houses! But still, we can delight in that they are a part of God=s creation.
So, can we not conclude that all people are part of God=s creation? God has some special purpose for them even if they are different from us.
God cares for them. God cares for and provides for all of His creation. In David=s Psalm of praise, he said, The eyes of all wait upon Thee; and Thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing (Psa. 145:15-16). Jesus said, Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them (Matt. 6:26).
Jesus, in speaking of the value of the human soul said, Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father (Matt. 10:29). Sparrows seem so insignificant! Two sparrows are sold for a farthing! Still, God feeds them and cares for them.
I wonder, if God so cares for those of His creation that seem so insignificant, should not we have some concern for those who may seem so insignificant to us?
There are plenty of those about us for whom we may and should show some love and concern. Some are ill, some have great personal problems, some have suffered a great loss. If our eyes are open, God will show to us those to whom we may extend our love and care. Perhaps we should consider again the parable of the good Samaritan! Consider also the exhortation from Proverbs, AWithhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it@ (Prov. 3:27).
If God created and provides for the sparrows with all of their seeming insignificance to us, should not we take note of and provide for those who we may, for whatever the reason, consider insignificant? Are there not some ways we can show our love and appreciation of them? Are there not some ways in which we may minister to them and help meet some of their pressing needs?
Again, we don’t have to agree with everybody about us. We don’t have to participate in their beliefs or activities. As believers, we stand upon a sure foundation, the foundation of Jesus Christ. What we as believers should consider doing is having something of the love and consideration of Jesus Himself. He is the perfect One. He is the One who never fails in doing righteousness. He is also the final Judge. We can rest in knowing that He knows all and will settle all of the accounts of sin that are not settled at the cross.
Norma Marot, former missionary to France with her husband John and family, passed away on Monday, February 22nd. Her husband passed away several years ago. Many will remember Norma=s parents, Andy and Inga Swenson, who lived on a farm on Highway 12 between Woodville and hersey. Norma=s sister, Irene Erb, passed away several years ago. We exted our sympathy to all of Norms=s family.
Thank you for the many cards, phone calls, and emails received as I marked my 80th birthday. I also received many thoughtful and generous gifts in remembrance of this February occurrence!!
Over the years I have written many paragraph articles for various community news papers. I have done this for many years and recently, with the help of Jason Taylor, we have put together we have put together a book containing many of these short articles. The book contains about 100 pages. The format has been to ask a pertinent question and then to answe it from the Bible. If anyone would be interested in having one of these books, they are available for a contribution of $5.00. They cost more than that to have printed, but I would just like t make them available for those who may be interested. If you cannot afford the $5.00, I will be glad to send yo one without cost.
Also this past week Bobby Mills, formerly of Hersey passed away. The funeral was held in our church on Monday, February 29th. On Tuesday, the funeral was held for Marilyn (Johnson) Stensland who passed away on Tuesday. She had been a resident of the Baldwin Care Center for several months.