Friday, February 2, 2024

Sparrows and Watchbands

It could happen in the lunchroom at work, or with someone on your street, or in school. Maybe it’s already happened to you. It has to me. As we follow Jesus, we’re bound to end up in a situation where we’re uneasy about mentioning Jesus in front of someone who might be hostile to the very idea of Jesus. Nobody likes rejection.

That’s not a new thing, which is why Jesus addressed it with his first disciples. He spoke of being bold amidst opposition, but as he did, he included an encouraging thought. He emphasized God’s care for us. He made it clear that we matter to God. Jesus’ antidote to fear before opponents was to emphasize our worth before God. If Almighty God truly treasures you, what can some guy with an attitude do to you?

Jesus said in that context, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29-31).

He’s speaking about Almighty God taking notice of the flight trajectory of a solitary sparrow. It’s estimated that there are 1.6 billion sparrows in this world, and God notices when any one of those 1.6 billion sparrows happens to crash land.

Jesus also mentioned the hairs on our heads. That number varies greatly from person to person, but the average number of hairs on our heads is about 100,000. God literally has them numbered.

Does all that mean that sparrows and head-hairs are of the utmost importance to God? No. It means that if God is that attentive to sparrows and head-hairs, how much value must God place on those for whom his Son Jesus died? His attentiveness toward us is immeasurable.

I was once in the West Edmonton Mall wave pool with my three children. We were frolicking in the water in the middle of the pool as big waves washed over us. But as we splashed in the water, suddenly my waterproof watch felt loose on my wrist and about to fall off. As I quickly reached for it, I saw that the metal watchband had separated from the watch, and when I held it in my hand I could see that one of the tiny pins that connected the watchband to the watch was missing. The pin was now lost in a vast pool of water. We’re talking about a tiny cylinder of metal about 1 centimeter long and 1 millimeter wide. I started walking toward the shallows of the pool with my head down as I examined the watch in my hand.

Then I had a thought. Perhaps it was a thought from the God who sees sparrows fall. Maybe, just maybe, I could find that tiny pin somewhere in this wave pool of 3.3 million gallons of turbulent water.

So I turned around, and guessed at how many steps I’d taken from where I’d been when the watch fell off. After taking those steps, the water depth was about up to my rib cage. I then took a breath, swam to the bottom, and lay my hand flat against the bottom of the pool. I immediately felt something small pressed against my palm. It was the pin from my watchband.

God’s attentiveness toward us truly is immeasurable. It’s seen by how he notices birds in flight and tiny pins on pool bottoms. And it's obvious by how he paid a much higher price to have you with him for eternity than for either of those things. That's why he wants you to be certain that when you feel vulnerable when speaking with people about Jesus, he is there with you, with his arm around you, and with his Holy Spirit to help you.

That is the reason we can be bold about the love of Jesus. And that’s the reason some people will believe you. Go ahead. Give it a shot. There’s someone in your life waiting to hear about him.


Anonymous said...

Right on Ken. Good encouragement. For me witnessing is a matter of being consistent. Sometimes too busy, or rationalizing that they are not interested any how or maybe they might think somehow less of me.

Anonymous said...

Always enjoy your postings. Special message to all of us to spread the work and be proud we are Christians. Valli & Bill.

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Laurence said...

God tells me he loves me in very similar ways to this!