Matthew 10:29 (KJV) – Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

LBJ Sparrow

I memorized that verse in the King James Version many years ago, and it often comes to mind when I see a bird.

We have a bird feeder outside of our family room window, and year after year, I continue to be amazed at the little birds that arrive. My favorites are the juncos–the ground feeders that eat whatever others spill while others are feeding. I have had fun learning some of the common breeds like the American goldfinches (which are faded yellow in the winter and turn vibrant yellow in the summer), the nuthatches, bluejays, woodpeckers, and the cardinals who sometimes show up like a lovely couple dressed up in coordinating orange-red like they are going to a banquet – and I guess they are – at our feeder, no less!

But of all the birds, who cares to recognize the sparrow? So common. So typical. In trying to identify the different small, brown birds, I once asked my bird-watching girlfriend, Laura, about it, and she said, “Oh that? That’s an L.B.J.” “An L.B.J?” I echoed in question. “Little Brown Jobs” she said factually. “If it’s little and brown, and you don’t know what it is, it’s a Little Brown Job.” We laughed together. The L.B.J.’s—among them, the sparrows—are numerous, and found almost anywhere; they nestle in any structure they find. Haven’t you heard them in the rafters at Home Depot or seen one in the middle of the big e in “Zehrs” or maybe even your own eavestrough?… and somehow they survive on the rations and leftovers of the creatures around them wherever they can. In Jesus’ day, two were sold for a penny. Not very valuable, noticeable or remarkable.

YET…not one of them dies without God knowing and in fact, allowing. Hmmm… Of course, that brings to mind the sovereignty of God and questions of what He allows and why. Yet, along with that, comes the assurance that He is in control. He is very connected to every one of His creatures, including you and me. We are immensely valued. He knows the hairs on our head and tells us that we do not need to fear. He is in charge.

And that is why the verse about the sparrows is one of my favorite. It comes to mind often, especially when I see one of those L.B.J.s.

The same passage in THE MESSAGE Paraphrase:  What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries.