Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matt 12:31 ESV
Look at the sparrows, they neither sow...
Is faith in God alot more difficult these days? Afterall there are more self help gurus, life enhancement talk show hosts, pastors, life coaches and pastors who prefer to be called life coaches. Where do you find comfort, hope and faith to endure in times of despair?
I was flipping through the Christian Best Seller List the other day. Well don’t blame me. I was just simply pondering what my fellow sheep were mauling in their green pastures and by their quiet streams. The CBA Best-Seller and category top-seller lists are compiled from actual sales in Christian stores as reported through CROSS: SCAN. I believe a comprehensive list like this should beable to give one a general feel of christendom’s latest trends and fads. Iam so naive about this post modern christian world; I must confess I had hoped to see a chart busting title like ” A Guide to Street Evangelism” or “Evangelism in the work place or bus stop” or “Witnessing on the Train Made Easy”. Well, umm…in no particular order here are a few titles in the top twenty CBA Best Seller List: The Shack, Crazy Love, Fearless, The Purpose Driven Life, Forgotten God, Living with Confidence in a Choatic World etc
Where do Christians get comfort in times of despair? I would suppose it is in the Word of God that we should delight ourselves. Jesus said the words I speak to you are spirit and life. This is not to say one should not read anything else. But in times of worry and fear what will give life to your hurting and hopeless spirit will dictate your outcome. But with little to anchor ones faith; there is hardly any resistance when then winds of trials and tribulations come. A weak and feeble foundation never weather the storms. To demonstrate Gods providence in times of worry and anxiety, Jesus simply said:
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matt 6:26 NIV
Stressed? Not me...
Birds and sparrows never worry where their shopping list or provisions for the day or season will come from. Come to think of it; I have never seen a bird stressed and pacing with a frown about what the next day will be like. Even when there is no food in sight there is a calm assurance that its cares are laid on the bosom of the Almighty God. For even if a pigeon collected enough food for a week or month or season, where would it keep all that food? Why is it easier for a bird to trust God than God own children to trust Him?
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. Matt 6:19
If we built the biggest steel bunkers and hoarded up a fair amount of supplies to last a presidential term, would that make us more faithful to God or more faithless? If your bank balance shoots up to several hundred or thousand digits of available excess credit does that offer more contentment and reassurance about tomorrow? on the other hand, what if like Habbakuk we realise that the fig tree has not blossomed, or there is no fruit on the vines and the produce of the olive are failing and the fields yield no food and there are no herd in the stalls.
Do you know that we can never experience the depth and width of Gods providence until we realise that even without the banks and barns He is still sufficient enough to provide all your needs.
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2Cor 4:17-18 ESV
The other day I read with concern about how Christians in India were being exhorted by a local pastor. Those who gave larger denominations of offerings would see God make them wealthy with bountiful “business blessing plans”. Prosperity gospel theology sadly removes man’s focus from God. It waters down faith in God’s word, elevates man’s works above his faith in Christ. Man then has to please God through his works of giving money to a “man of God” so as to get favours, “breakthrough annointings” and “business blessing plans” from God. I always thought we are crucified and dead with Christ and th e life we live is by faith in Christ. Not by works lest any man should boast. This Gospel Lite creates a false sense of godliness and many have been hurt and despaired because their barn did not fill up. Reminds me of how Paul started the first verse of Galatians chapter 3! I promised I would not quote that verse today…
Laying up treasures on earth
Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 1 Tim 6:6-7
Finally, in 1905 Civilla D. Martin and her husband while temporarily passing through New York when they came across a Christian couple. The wife had been bedridden for the better part of twenty years; the husband was “an incurable cripple who had to propel himself to and from” in a wheel chair. Nevertheless despite their afflictions they lived extremely happy lives and delightfully inspired and comforted all those who knew them. When asked what the secret behind their bright hopefulness was, the bedridden lady gently smiled: “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me”. Déjà vu! These words began to resonate in musical sequence through Civilla’s mind like a thread being pulled by a needle, she began to write a poem. The next day she mailed the poem as it were to Charles Gabriel who supplied the music to birth the famous gospel hymn- “His Eye Is on the Sparrow”.
This is an excerpt from that great hymn “His Eye Is on the Sparrow”:
Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My 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.
I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me – Civilla D. Martin
Probably this is what Paul discovered, the sparrow’s guide to true prosperity when he said, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. Indeed its immensely comforting to know that even when times get tough and you get hard pressed on very side, you will not be crushed as God is working behind the scenes. Jesus remarked that are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without God knowing. Even the very hairs of your head are numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.