Deceptive Fall and Birds
It seems that fall has finally arrived, at least on a temporary basis. Since it has been so elusive this year the cooler weather is holding a deceptive priceless value because of its rarity. Isn’t it funny how we often chose to love the rare and put to the side, if not, disdain the common? I’m sure that if faced with a long and brutal winter we will be longing for the hot days we have experienced this rather unusual warm fall. It is difficult to see the value sometimes in the things that are always surrounding us, but this is a deceptive way of ranking importance.
There are many things that hold a deceptive value. Take for instance sparrows, a small finch-like bird that is usually brown or gray. They are really nothing special to look at when you compare them to birds with bright and colorful plumage. Yet, their value to the ecosystem is important according to biologist and author Rob Dunn. Dunn points out that being common in the bird world, though not a sin, is a kind of tastelessness that we look away and discount its worth. For we often view the common as troublesome and if in abundance just unattractive. Interestingly, however, the lowly common sparrow is often used for illustrative purposes in the Bible making us question the lowly status assigned to them.
Sparrows, Us and the Storms of Life
Did you know that after the highly exalted Dove, that sparrows are the next most referenced bird in the Bible? According to Smith’s Bible Dictionary, the word sparrow comes from the Hebrew word, ”tzippor.” This is from a root word meaning to chirp or twitter which appears to be the phonetic representation of the voice of any sparrow-like bird. This Hebrew word occurs some forty times in the Old Testament. The Greek translation finds the referenced bird called stauthion. This is a direct reference to the sparrow bird and Christ mentions it specifically and twice in His teachings.
Christ used this bird, most likely, as a reference because these birds are in great abundance in Palestine and therefore considered of little value. Yet, Christ points out how much God cares for these birds creating an obviously deceptive value in our thinking. Christ teaches us that if God is aware and cares even for the sparrows that we are far more valuable to Him than they are.
When storms of nature, like Hurricane Michael, affect lives whether directly or indirectly, it is easy to think that God forgets about us or doesn’t care. But, Christ teaches us that God is always aware of what is happening and stands ready for us to turn over our trust to Him day by day and minute by minute. We, like the sparrows, may seem commonplace and when the storms come, whether literally or figuratively, it is easy to forget in that overwhelming moment that God cares for us. Yet, we too hold a deceptive value, for things are not always valued for what they seem from our viewpoint until we reach a deeper understanding.
John Killinger tells the story of such a deceptive value about two paintingsÂ described to him some time ago. One was the figure of Jesus’ story of the rich man whose crops produced so greatly that he tore down his old barns to build bigger new ones. To this endeavor, the rich man told himself to eat, drink, and have a good time because tomorrow you die. The caption under this painting said: ”The Failure that Looked Like Success.” The other painting, that hung beside it was of Jesus dying on the cross with the crown of thorns on His head and His chin drooping against His chest. His outstretched hands tortured with the crude nails and His friends in the background hiding. The caption under this picture said: ”The Success that Looked Like Failure.” The latter certainly holds more value, but its appearance is quite deceptive.
We must remember that things are often deceptive, and the value of storms are not always seen. But God finds us so valuable that He sent His only Son to die for us. He places such a high value on us that we need never to fear personal threats or difficult trials. Our value to God may seem deceptive or not clear when the storms of life come but by turning over our trust fully to Him we can find the value of peace in knowing that there is to come, a great and lasting reward.
So, don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. Matthew 10:31 (NLT)
The Real Test
When we stand up for Christ despite our troubles, whether under pressure or not, there are rewards that belong to us. It is said that the real test of value is how well something holds up under the wear, tear, and stress of everyday life. But when we declare our commitment to Christ, we stand fully knowing that God values us greatly. We may not receive this acknowledgment on earth, but we can live a life of knowing what is to come. For believing doesn’t mean that God takes away our trouble, but if we stand up for Him here then we can know that He will stand up for us when it counts.
The world is fickle and, like the sparrows, groups many things into the commonplace; people included. Therefore, it is important to know and remember your worth to your creator. Stand in awe of Him who gave His all for you as you challenge yourself to trust fully in Christ no matter the storms of life you may face. Allow your convictions to see you through the troubles acknowledging Him in all the goodness of life. Find your motivation in moving forward knowing that God cares even for the multitudes of sparrows and knows all that is happening to each of His creations. Surround yourself in the comfort of knowing that God loves you so much. He places such a high value on you that He sent His only Son to die for you and because of this your worth and value is secure even in the storms of life.
Love in Christ,
Every problem is an opportunity to prove God’s power. Every day we encounter countless golden opportunities, brilliantly disguised as insurmountable problems.
What are Your Thoughts?
Have you experienced the deceptive value of the commonplace seeing it as invaluable? Do you remember that the storms of life may be not the problem you thought but instead a God-opportunity? Share your thoughts on deceptive values and learning to trust in the truly worthy things of life.
Credits Dunn, R. (2012, March 2). Science-nature - The Story of the Most Common Bird in the World. Retrieved from Smithsonian Magazine: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-story-of-the-most-common-bird-in-the-world-113046500/ Smith, W. (2004). Smith's Bible Dictionary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.