Sometimes, I read Scripture and don’t even pay attention. This happens a lot when I assume, “Oh, I’ve heard this story before, yadayadayada.” For example, a lot of what Jesus said and did in the Gospels has been preached and quoted a lot, and sometimes I breeze past it because I think, “Yeah, I got it, bless those who persecute you,” or “Check, fishers of men, heard that before.”
I have been trying to push through this by reading the book fo Luke with my friend Alison. We are reading verse by verse, and we can keep each other in check when we try to skip past stories because we think we’ve heard them before. I can’t tell you how many times our conversations have turned to: “You know, I’ve heard this preached a thousand times, but…”
It’s so wonderful to discover Jesus anew again, to give Him the room to speak instead of relying on sermons and Sunday school lessons to tell me what He said. Yesterday, when reading Luke 12 on my own, I had one of those moments:
Jesus starts off by talking about how we should not fear those who can kill the body and then do no more, but we should fear God, who after killing the body can throw us into hell. I don’t think this is supposed to be scary, I think it is supposed to be encouraging: God alone is in charge, and we are more than our body.
I think this is supposed to be an encouragement because right afterwards, he says:
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs on your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; for you are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7
This is the verse that made my soul swell within me. I’ve heard this thrown out in sermons a thousand times, God knows the number of hairs on your head. That is amazing. However, it is the part about the sparrows that makes me want to run to Jesus and throw myself at His feet.
You see, in essence, these sparrows are worthless to the world. You can buy five of them for two pennies, and they are so small they probably won’t offer you much sustenance anyway. I don’t do math, otherwise I would divide it up and tell you exactly how little it would cost to purchase just one sparrow. You probably wouldn’t have to, they’d probably just give it to you for free, or you could capture one in your house. Sparrows were around in abundance at the time, they were so cheap probably because there were so many of them. And yet, Jesus says, not one single sparrow is forgotten by the Creator of the universe.
I struggle a lot with feeling worthless, and I think Jesus saw that in some of the people He walked amongst. He ate with prostitutes and disgraced women, tax collectors and lost men, people who probably thought their life was worth less than two pennies, and yet He loved them. He wanted to tell them, “Even the animal you deem most worthless is cared for intimately by the Father, how much more does He care for you, dear child!”
Jesus talks about birds again in verse 24. This time it’s ravens, how the ravens don’t sow or reap and yet the Father feeds them. It’s a slightly different principle, but I have to believe He’s trying to hammer this point home when he says: “And how much more valuable are you than birds!”
Don’t believe the lie that you are worthless. I am so grateful that God knew we would struggle with this, and He wanted to tell us over and over that we are worth so much more. “Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Jesus, I can’t get enough of You. Keep it coming!