A sparrow, said Jesus, has a street value of about five cents. And yet, despite its fragility and despite its relatively low value, apart from the Father’s will, you just can’t knock one down. The point being that, if God eyeballs the sparrow with such care and attention, how much more must He care for you.
He said this because being a faithful follower of Christ brings with it significant physical risks and a demand for courage.
What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. (Matthew 10:27)
What we hear and read of the Word of God, we are to live, we are to speak and we are to teach in such a way that it gets noticed.
But if you do that, if God grants you the courage to live that way, you are likely to get hounded out of town, out of a job, out of a family, out of your church—or worse.
Jesus anticipated that we might be frightened by this, that we might react this way and so He went on to say, “Yep, it sounds pretty bad. But I can think of something worse.”
…do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)
In this life, you are going to take risks with your body. You may risk famine, beatings, persecutions, sickness, or even death. Those risks are both acceptable to God and often necessary. But you are not to take any risk with your soul.
Throughout scripture, we read of faithful servants who said and did things that put their lives at risk for the sake of love. Yes, your body is a temple, but it is a temple that God can rebuild in three days.
Your soul, your spiritual well-being, is another matter altogether and we are never taught, either by precept or example, to put the well-being of our soul in jeopardy.
The good news, the great comfort to those who choose to live this way—who choose to put the spiritual well-being of others and themselves before their own physical safety—is that God is watching and He is near.
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. Fear not, therefore; for you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:29, 31)
Nothing can stop the mighty sparrow from warbling his little tune. Nothing brings his life to a close but God. And nothing is going to touch you without the royal nod. Nothing is going to harm you that is beyond His power or apart from His divine will. You are in His hands all the way home.
So speak and so act as those who are fearless in their faith, grounded in the truth and with full assurance that if His eye is on the sparrow, how much more is His eye on you.