So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.- Matthew 10:31
As I was straightening up the other day, I came across a whole slew of change. Along with the quarters, dimes, and nickels there were pennies. LOTS of pennies.
It made me think of other times when I’ve wondered about the value of a single penny. Pennies don’t have much worth these days. In fact, at one point there was talk of eliminating pennies and letting nickels become our lowest monetary denomination.
That never happened and so, as if ashamed, our pennies hide in the creases of our couch, underneath the rug, in the cupholder of the car, and any strange place that they can find.
Back in Jesus’ time, the biblical equivalent of a penny is what a person paid to purchase two sparrows for sacrifice. Two sparrows were the least sacrifice of all. Practically worthless.
Too many people are walking this earth feeling the same way about themselves. People of color, LGBTQIA+, women, the elderly, the abused, and the poor frequently have this in common. They feel insignificant, disposable, and worthless.
Jesus understood that those he ministered to were suffering more than physical maladies. And so, he juxtaposed God’s care of the lowly sparrow – even a whole flock of them – with God’s care for us. If God could care so much about this common, ordinary, half-a-penny bird, what must God’s love be for us?
One of my daily emails includes a “spiritual practice of the day,” in which the following quote was included. It read: It is not because we have value that we are loved, but because we are loved that we have value. — Credo by William Sloane Coffin
How strange to think that we don’t have to do anything to be loved by God. This goes against everything we think we know. And our Protestant work ethic has contributed a great deal to that belief. If we just work or try hard enough to be good and do good, God will love us.
Jesus taught that God loved all that was made just as it was. There was no need for even a sparrow to do anything but be a sparrow for God to care for about it. And, if that was the case, how much more so would it be for us?
At the end of the quote in my spiritual daily practice, we readers were left with a thought to practice, which you can try to put into practice as well. Here is the thought to put into practice: How does it feel, knowing that you are valuable in God's eyes?
You are worth more than one of God’s much-loved, half-penny sparrows. What’s it like to know this? May you understand in your heart the truth of your worth.