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Religion: A Pastor Ponders

The fifth sparrow

By Pastor William Jenkins

September 12, 2007

League City News - League City Methodist Church PictureHave you ever had one of those days whenever you felt totally worthless, days whenever you couldn’t do anything right and whatever you thought was right wasn’t? Perhaps the better question would be, “When was the last time you had such a day?” Most of us ride on the rollercoaster of self-esteem, going from exhilarating highs to brow-beating lows. It is in the low place, whenever we feel totally worthless and completely incompetent, that we need some assurance. I recently found such an assurance in the mathematical mix-up between Matthew 10:29 and Luke 12:6.

Matthew and Luke are telling the same story from the life of Jesus except that Matthew has Jesus saying, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?” while Luke has Jesus say, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?”

As far as the price is concerned both are correct. You would expect that if two sold for one penny then four would sell for two; however, like the “bakers dozen”, an extra sparrow is thrown in for free. Sparrows were of such little value that the vendor would give a fifth as a bonus if you bought four. At least the first four sparrows had some value attached to them.

It is that fifth sparrow that encourages me in my lowest moments. It was so insignificant, so worthless, and amounted to so little. There follows a glorious transition in both Matthew and Luke, “And yet…” (I just love the way the Bible lets great truths swing on small words.) “And yet not one of them is forgotten before God.” Not the first or second one; not the third or fourth one; not even the next-to-nothing existence of the fifth sparrow is forgotten before God.

Jesus wants us to understand that if God cares about the fifth sparrow, how much more does He care about, know about, and fuss over us? Ponder the fifth sparrow the next time you are feeling really low.

League City United Methodist Church is located at 1411 Main Street (FM 518), one block east of Interstate 45. For information, call the church offices at 281-332-1557 or visit the website at


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