In the middle of conflict and danger, Jesus suddenly speaks of the smallest, most insignificant creatures, saying, “Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.” Sparrows were the meat of the poor, the ground chuck of the first century. Yet their lives—their deaths—are not beneath God’s attention and care. The same applies to recognizing that others have the same value. Knowing that God cares for us, Jesus says “So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
However, Jesus then tells us that, “Don’t fear people; fear God”-God is the one who can kill both body and soul and cast into hell those who in some way are choosing it by the way they are living.
There was a woman who was going through some difficult times. She thought that she would never experience joy in her life. However, one day when she was sitting in her kitchen crying, she noticed a small sparrow.
Somehow it had gotten into her kitchen. Anyhow she opened the door thinking the sparrow would just fly out.
There was a window above the door.
And instead of flying out through the open door, the sparrow kept trying to fly out through the closed window.
Several times the sparrow flew at the closed window and smacked itself into it, until it got so weak it could no longer fly; it could only walk… out the door to freedom.
In a more difficult case, a rabbi shared, “When my wife and I returned from the hospital it was evening. Later that same evening a friend came to visit us. In his attempt to console us, he told us that earlier in his life he too had lost a child. Yet his words did not penetrate. I had no feelings left. I could not think straight. We just sat there, my wife and me, with only one thought: Why…? Why…?
In my mind, helplessly, I tried to turn the clock back. I would take care that he did not go outside. Then he would not be hit by that car. Then we would not ever have had to go to the hospital, and he would be snug asleep. But, it was no use. It just made no sense. Not long before I had tried to comfort a woman whose husband was killed in an accident. I had explained to her that she should not blame herself, as she probably did. She had sent her husband shopping, and on his way back he was run over. So she tended to dwell on the following regret: If only I had not sent him. If only I had asked someone else. Then… then… In this way, I thought, she was blaming herself. I had tried to argue her out of this reasoning. I explained to her that her husband would have died at that very same moment even if she had not sent him shopping. His time had come. Death is an event which G-d “does not leave to chance.” Everything is Divine Providence; everything is orchestrated by Him, down to the smallest detail. If we have any awareness of G-d’s reality, we understand that such a drastic event as dying cannot be a matter of chance. All this I explained to the woman and she was grateful. “You are the first one who has said something sensible,” she told me.
Should all this not apply to us as well?” the rabbi asked.2
If God takes care of even small birds, how much more will God care for a faithful disciple?
1. King Duncan, Good News about Sparrows
2. Mendel Kalmenson, Eternity of the Soul