The Sparrow and the Heart: The Sparrow (Part 2)

I hate birds. They give me the creeps. Maybe I watched Hitchcock when I was too young, but for whatever reason I simply do not like birds. But it is these little rats with wings which Jesus uses to teach us a lesson, and it is they which have now become the symbol of a major theological point for me. The Sparrow teaches me that God provides for us because He cares for us.

In the context of Matthew chapter 6 Jesus is teaching his disciples about what it means to be a citizen of the Kingdom of God, and part of what it means is to live by a different set of a values. One of the ways we can practically identify these different values in our lives is by not worrying. So Jesus teaches us then, from Matthew 6:25-34 not to worry. He teaches us, more positively, that He will provide for us because He cares for us. Let’s break down the text and look at it specifically.

Verse 25 begins with the word “Therefore.” Whenever you see this word remember to ask, “What’s the ‘therefore” there for?” What is Matthew doing with that word? Here he is connecting us back to all that has just been said. In the previous verses Jesus has been undermining the importance of wealth. In verses 19-21 He says store up the right kind of treasure (treasure in heaven), in verse 24 He boldly states “You cannot serve God and money!” Jesus says ultimately not only with wealth not satisfy you, but it will lead you away from God if you pursue it with all your being. So Jesus says, “therefore” in light of the minimal importance of wealth, don’t worry.

Now if you’re anything like me you hear that statement and you think, “Really?!” Really Jesus, you mean I shouldn’t worry about the plethora of issues that are plaguing me. I imagine for most of us the issue is not so much that we are consumed with our wealth. Rather I imagine plenty of us are just trying to survive and keep things going. Our concerns aren’t over our summer homes and power boats, they are over things like college tuition, sickness, relationships, careers, futures, etc. Ours are not the problems of the wealthy they are the problems of the average (which in this economy is more true than ever). I live in a community that is rife with poverty and sickness, and if anyone should worry it’s us…right?

The truth is that Jesus is offering us a balanced perspective here. He has spent the better part of chapter 6 working over the rich and wealthy, and now he shifts his focus to the poor lest they think their anxiety is justified. Jesus would have us all know, regardless of our state and the nature of our concerns that worry is not a hallmark of those who know God. We’ll see this unpacked more next week, for the time read ahead and see if you can understand how Jesus encourages even the poor to abolish anxiety. See if you can understand how Jesus promotes the teaching that God will provide for us, because He cares for us.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: