On one occasion, Jesus called His twelve disciples to send them on a short mission trip all on their own. Knowing that He was going to get killed soon, Jesus prepared His friends for the days ahead when they had to manage without Him. He said to them (Matthew 10:16):
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”
Sheep among wolves is a scary prospect and Jesus did not mince His words as He painted the picture of their not so distant future. He warned them (Matthew 10:17+28):
“Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
It is hard not to be intimidated knowing what people are capable of doing. To encourage His disciples Jesus began to talk about a certain little bird in brown plumage. Sparrows are indigenous to Europe, Africa and Asia. In the Americas, Australia and other parts of the world, settlers imported some species which quickly naturalized, particularly in urban and degraded areas. Sparrows are a common occurrence and were sold for less than a penny in Jesus’s day. Naturally they would be prized differently if they were rare and had feathers like a peacock.
Feeling proud like a Peacock today or more like one of these countless sparrows, overlooked, underrated and unappreciated? God remembers you. And people moved by His Spirit remember you too. You are not alone. No sparrow goes unnoticed, Jesus says. If a sparrow falls from the sky, our Father in Heaven knows about it. If the Lord of the universe keeps track of the number of our hair even more so is He aware of everything else that is going on in our lives. Birth, death, marriage, divorce, love life, work life, global warming, war and peace, friends and foes, nothing escapes His attention. He looks at every detail in our lives because He cares about us. And knowing how much He cares we don’t need to be afraid.
God knows, the road ahead of us is not easy. Knowing we have such a strong advocate in heaven, why not approach Him, why not trust in Him, why not call on Him? We don’t need to convince Him to love us – He always has and He always will.