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Posts Tagged ‘Matthew 10:29-31’

(Steve and I are enjoying time with family this week.  I’ll return soon with  new posts.  Meanwhile, I’ll reblog previous ones.  Hopefully you’ll find them meaningful again, or perhaps for the first time.  The following post was first published June 13, 2013.)

From stage left, she crosses the platform in confident strides.  One hand waves in sweeping arcs to the large audience. The crowd claps and cheers.

In the other hand, with confident ease, she holds the microphone.  And the smile—big and broad, bright white teeth visible even from the balcony.

Able to sing like a nightingale and articulate truth with conviction. Impacting thousands.

Now there is someone God is using in a powerful way, whispers an accusing voice.  Look at her significant contribution in the Kingdom of God. No doubt she’s highly valuable to him.  So what are you doing that’s important?  Your spot in the scheme of things is nothing compared to that shining star on the stage.  You might as well face the truth:  You are unimportant.  The ship of Significance has passed you by.

Sound the least bit familiar? You’re not alone. Demons use those same lies on a lot of us. Evil spirits aren’t very creative, are they?

But here’s the truth of the matter:

Each of us is the workmanship of God (Ephesians 2:10). The Greek word, workmanship, sometimes has the connotation of “work of art.” You are a work of art—carefully designed and meticulously executed.

The verse goes on to explain we’ve been created to do good works. It does not say the same work. Diversity of personality, talent, and interest are necessary among the children of God in order that all his plans are accomplished.

He made each of us unique, to fulfill a personalized plan. Every now and then we see such a plan unfold so clearly, we know God engineered the circumstances. Sometimes it’s a unique set of talents or gifts that work together sublimely to meet a need.

Take, for example, the naturally talented writer, who happened to grow up in a bilingual home, and studied Christian Education in college. She was especially prepared by God to write Spanish curriculum for a Christian publishing company.

Other times the plan is much less obvious, and we must trust that the task before us–caring for our families, teaching that Sunday School class, working at the homeless shelter–is indeed accomplishing divine purpose.

What we can know for certain:  each of us is valuable to God (Matthew  10:29-31).

Believe that he has prepared in advance good works for you to do (Ephesians 2:10).  Take joy and satisfaction from completing those good works.

It may not be walking across a stage with a microphone. It might mean walking across the kitchen with a rolling pin—to bake cookies for the neighbors.

That’s just a small, insignificant thing, you say?

Think about this: What if God takes particular pleasure in small things?

Personally, I’m fascinated by small things. Miniatures, doll houses, petit-point, babies!

Scripture gives us indication that God does indeed love small things as well:

Sparrows (Matthew 10:29-31).

Two little mites given by a widow (Mark 12:41-44).

Five small barley loaves and two small fish (John 6:1-13).

Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).

Let’s never again allow those little demons of abasement to put us down. God has promised: “I will bless those who fear the Lord—small and great alike” (Psalm 115:13, emphasis added).

You see, in God’s sight, we’re of equal worth.

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Group of sparrows.

Group of sparrows. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father…So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29, 31).

Why did Jesus choose sparrows for this illustration?

They’re so small and common.  (Have you ever felt unimportant and ordinary?)

Sparrows were of such little value in Jesus’ day, they were sold two for a penny.  The poor would buy them to eat—a cheap source of protein.

Nobody much cared about sparrows in Bible times; most folks still don’t care today.  They’re just drab little birds we see every day—hardly worth our attention.

But the smallest, drabbest sparrow doesn’t slip by God’s attention.  Not one can fall to the ground without God knowing.  And if he knows and cares about the sparrows, he certainly knows and cares about each of us.  Verse thirty-one makes it clear:  “You are worth more than many sparrows.”

There’s a modicum of comfort in the knowledge that God sees our situations.  To be honest, though, the fact that he just knows isn’t all that helpful.

Better yet is the news that not one sparrow can fall without God’s consent.

Nothing happens to us that hasn’t first received the stamp of approval from God Almighty.

“Wait a minute,” you might say.  “If a sparrow falls, he’s likely to die.  Not much comfort in that either– knowing that God gave his OK!

Here’s what I want to embrace:  we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16b), right?  When it’s my turn to fall off the branch, I want to be able to affirm, “Yes, Lord.  Whatever you think is best is A-OK with me.  I know I can trust you because you love me.  And I rejoice in the promise that whatever happens, you will bring good from it.”   (Remind me of that truth when I start to wobble, will you?)

But here’s the best news:  Notice that Jesus didn’t speak of God as some detached, omnipotent being.

He said, Father.

It is our gracious and kind Heavenly Father who tenderly watches over his little sparrows.

Red Bike

Red Bike (Photo credit: swanksalot)

Think of a loving mother who witnesses her small son falling off his bike.  When he gets up with a scraped knee, she won’t just say, “Oh, I saw that happen, Johnny.  I’m so sorry you’re hurting.”  Small comfort in that.

No, that mother will run to her son, hold him in her arms, talk to him reassuringly, take him to the house, and patch him up.  That’s just what a loving parent does.

When trouble comes, our loving Heavenly Father is right there with us, just like that mother.

He holds us.  Isaiah wrote, “He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart” (40:11).

He talks reassuringly to us, especially through His Word.  With the psalmist, we can pray, “Strengthen me according to your word” (Psalm 119:28b).

God is our refuge and sanctuary; he is our home, our dwelling place. (Psalm 91:1-2).

And God patches us up; he restores our souls (Psalm 23:3).  He renews our energy, purpose, and hope.

So, “Don’t be afraid,” he says. “If I take care of the sparrows, I will most certainly take care of you, because you are worth more than many sparrows.”

See? You’re not small, unimportant, and ordinary–not at all!

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Thank you, Lord, for not playing favorites.  What glorious news that each of us is precious to you!  Thank you also for being an attentive God who tenderly watches over us.  And especially thank you for being an involved God, always acting on our behalf, and always for our good.  We are in awe of you, our loving, gracious Heavenly Father!    

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She glides across the platform in confident strides.  One hand waves in sweeping arcs to the large audience. The crowd is clapping and cheering.

In the other hand, with confident ease, she holds the microphone.  And the smile—big and broad. Bright white teeth visible even from the balcony.

Able to sing like a nightingale and speak truth with conviction. Impacting thousands.

Now there is someone God is using in a powerful way, to make a significant contribution in the Kingdom of God. No doubt she’s highly valuable to God.

Does a little demon ever park on your shoulder and whisper, “So what’s your claim to fame? What are you doing that’s important? Your spot in the scheme of things is nothing compared to that shining star on the stage. You might as well face the truth: You are unimportant. The ship of Significance has passed you by.”

Does that speech sound the least bit familiar? You’re not alone. Demons use those same lies on a lot of us. Evil spirits aren’t very creative, are they?

But here’s the truth of the matter:

Each of us is the workmanship of God (Ephesians 2:10). The Greek word sometimes has the connotation of “work of art.” You are a work of art—carefully designed and executed.

The verse goes on to explain we’ve been created to do good works. It does not say the same work. Diversity of personality, talent, and interest are necessary among the children of God in order that all his plans are accomplished.

He made each of us unique, to fulfill a personalized plan. Every now and then we see such a plan unfold so clearly, we know God engineered the circumstances. Sometimes it’s a unique set of talents or gifts that work together sublimely to meet a need.

Take, for example, the naturally talented writer, who happened to grow up in a bilingual home, and studied Christian Education in college. She was especially prepared by God to write Spanish curriculum for a Christian publishing company.

Other times the plan is much less obvious. That’s called walking by faith.

But rest assured you are valuable to God (Matthew  10:29-31).

Believe that he has prepared in advance good works for you to do (Ephesians 2:10).  Take joy and satisfaction from completing those good works.

It may not be walking across a stage with a microphone. It might mean walking across the kitchen with a rolling pin—to bake cookies for the neighbors.

That’s just a small thing, you say?

Think about this: What if God especially likes small things?

Personally, I’m fascinated by small things. Miniatures, doll houses, petit-point, babies!

Scripture gives us indication that God loves small things, too.

Sparrows (Matthew 10:29-31).

Two little mites given by a widow (Mark 12:41-44).

Five small barley loaves and two small fish (John 6:1-13).

Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).

Let’s never again allow those little demons of abasement to put us down. God has promised: “I will bless those who fear the Lord—small and great alike” (Psalm 115:13, emphasis added).

You see, in God’s sight, we’re of equal worth.

Read Full Post »

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