The Fifth Sparrow


“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God.  Why, even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” - Luke 12:6-7 (ESV)


When I was in eighth grade, my world got turned upside down. My dad was a pastor, and when he got a new job, we moved from a small town where I was comfortable, had friends, and felt like I made a difference, to a little bigger town where I had to “prove myself” all over again. I greatly feared being insignificant and wanted to do anything I could to set myself apart. So, I did what I knew best: I played sports thinking that would give me the value I wanted. As it turned out, I did achieve success, but it didn’t have the lasting value I thought it would. I wound up being labeled as a show-off and dealing with an entirely different problem—all because I thought I needed to prove myself and achieve worldly significance.

Many people in Christ’s life must have felt the same way. They just wanted to matter in life. They feared the worst and even expected it in their lives, so much so that Christ told a story about sparrows. Now, sparrows were the least of all birds in that time. One penny could get you two sparrows, and two pennies could buy you five. They were so insignificant that the trader threw in the fifth one for free.

The third wheel, the last picked, the fifth sparrow…the lowest of the low honor. Many people of that day just found residence there for many reasons. They weren’t good enough, didn’t dress the part, didn’t smell the same—they were just different. Christ, however, saw them quite differently. He reassured these people that He knew every detail about them, even the number of hairs on their heads. Christ let them know clearly that they truly mattered to Him.

Recently I received two unexpected gifts. The first was from my parents, who, after moving to a new house and unpacking some old things, came across my letter jacket and a few awards. Seeing those again brought a smile to my face. But the second gift was even greater. It came through the time I got to spend with a friend I had been disconnected with for some years. After some time of talking and visiting, he shared how much he appreciated me and eventually said he loved me. That was a truly priceless gift. One of more significance than even my letter jacket.

We all feel like the fifth sparrow sometimes, but it’s important for us to understand that it’s only the world who whispers that devaluing lie. Christ valued even that last sparrow, but He values us much more. To Christ, we are significant. Like the song goes, “He knows my name. He knows my every thought. He sees each tear that falls and hears me when I call.”

If you feel like a fifth sparrow today and fear that you don’t matter, take courage and know that it’s not true. You do matter. You matter to the Creator of the Universe! If He knows every hair on your head, whether many or few, He surely cares about your life today.

  1. Have you ever felt like you didn’t matter? In school, church, sports or life in general?
  2. How do you relate to the fifth sparrow?
  3. How does Christ view the fifth sparrow? What does He say about how He views us? 
  4. Pray today that God will show you in some way how much you truly matter to Him.

Matthew 6
Luke 12
1 Peter 5:7