The title of this message is inspired by the famous gospel song by the same name. It is one of the most loved Christian songs in the world and was made famous by Ethel Walters, who used it as the title of her autobiography. Many other singers have recorded it and it enjoyed a revival when Lauryn Hill sang it in Sister Act 2. You know the song, but let’s go behind the music.
“His Eye is on the Sparrow” was written by Civilla Martin, the wife of a Baptist Pastor. She described in her own words how she came to write the song. “In the spring of 1905, my husband and I were sojourning in Elmira, New York. We contracted a deep friendship with a couple by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle—true saints of God. Mrs. Doolittle had been bedridden for over twenty years. Her husband was an incurable cripple who had to propel himself to and from his business in a wheel chair. Despite their afflictions, they lived happy Christian lives, bringing inspiration and comfort to all who knew them. One day while we were visiting with the Doolittles, my husband commented on their bright hopefulness and asked them the secret of their joy in the midst of pain. Mrs. Doolittle’s reply was simple: ‘If His eye is on the sparrow, then I know He watches me.’ The beauty of this expression of simple faith gripped my heart and that same evening I wrote the words for the song.” The rest, as they say, is history. If you’re discouraged, afraid of the future, or struggling with the problems of today, listen again to the words of this beautiful song: “Why should I feel discouraged? Why should the shadows come? Why should my heart feel lonely, and long for heaven and home? When Jesus is my portion, a constant friend is He. His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches over me. His eye is on the sparrow; and I know He watches me. I sing because I’m happy. I sing because I’m free! His eye is on the sparrow; and I know He watches me. His eye is on the sparrow; and I know He watches me.”
Of course, the lyrics of that song are taken from the words of Jesus. In light of this let’s read the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 10:28-31:
“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 body and soul in hell. 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. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Reading the Bible is sometimes like tuning in to God’s Animal Planet channel! Last week it was a message on sheep, snakes, and doves, and in this message He refers to sparrows. When Jesus used these simple word pictures and analogies they were to demonstrate important spiritual principles. The message Jesus is communicating to us today is, “Don’t be afraid.” He starts this section by saying, “Don’t be afraid,” and He concludes with the same message. What is it you’re afraid of today? God has a message of reassurance and hope for you today. He’s telling you that you don’t have to be afraid. Jesus gives us three powerful reasons why you can say, “I’m not afraid.”