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And He said unto them, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."
Matt 10:29-31 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
6:26 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
MORE THAN MANY SPARROWS
We are living in a time when it seems that a great number of people are struggling with their sense of self worth. Kids are being bullied to the point of depression and suicide, drug overdoses is the number one cause of death in the country of those under fifty years old, and millions of our citizens struggle with feelings of emptiness and worthlessness. For many of us life has lost its value and its connection to the God who gives us value. It seems that many people are living disconnected, meaningless lives that to them seem to have very little value.
It could easily be said that the central purpose of Jesus’ mission on earth was to show man how important he was to God. After all, Jesus was here as evidence of God’s love for man: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son...: Man’s value to God and the implications of that value is a theme throughout the Bible. In the scripture used as the background for this message, Jesus reiterates the importance man holds in the eyes of God. He is admonishing His followers to not be intimidated by the forces of this world, but to be unflinching in their trust in God. He assures them that they are valued by God and that God would always watch over them. God watches over the sparrows, and is mindful of every one that falls from the sky. Then Jesus says to those following Him: “You are worth more than many sparrows. If God watches over the sparrows which are not worth nearly as much as you are to Him, how much more will He watch over you? You are more valuable than many sparrows.”
This message from Jesus is good for us to hear today. There are many forces around us that, if we let them, would make us feel unimportant. Everything around us seems bigger than we are. Our fears and our sicknesses seem bigger than we are. Our responsibilities and our problems seem to be more than we can handle. In times like these we need to be reminded that God made the world, and that there is nothing in it that is more important to him than we are. We are God’s most valuable creation, and we dishonor ourselves and our God by letting anything that we discover or make, become more important than we are, and more important to us than God is to us. In the face of our fears, we should remember that we are valuable to God and that the God who is in us is greater than the forces that cause us to be afraid. In the midst of our temptations we should remember that we are precious to God and He will help us resist the temptations of our sins and weaknesses. When we are tempted to walk away from God or the church, we should remember that we are valuable to God and He wants us to be a part of His church and the fellowship of the church. When we are alone and no one in this world seems to care about us, we should remember that we are somebody in the eyes of God. We are worth more than many sparrows to Him, and eventually we will be joined with Him and live forever in the Glory of His presence.
John 14:19 I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.
JESUS’ PROMISE OF COMFORT
Regardless of how strong we are, regardless of how seemingly secure we are, and regardless of how much we know, there will probably come a time in our lives when we will need comforting. Comforting is generally a universal need of the human condition. Comforting is relief from distress and the assurance that things are going to be alright. This world imposes upon us many situations and trials that will cause us to seek comfort. Jesus tells his disciples in the scripture chosen for these remarks, “I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you.”
Jesus was getting ready to leave His disciples. He had spent three years with them and was about to return to Heaven to sit at the right hand of His father. He knew that because they had followed Him they were going to have to go through trials and tribulations. They were going to be persecuted. They were going to be lonely in their struggles to do what He had commanded them to do. He assures them in this scripture that He loves them and is not leaving them totally alone. They have the Holy Spirit, which will be with them in his absence, and will serve to comfort their spirits.
Jesus offers to us today the same comfort that He promised to His disciples in this scripture. Indeed, we don’t have the same trials and tribulations that they had, but we have problems that can get to us and cause us just as much troubles and sorrows as their problems caused them. Jesus does not choose to save us from our troubles, but He promises to comfort us in them. It would seem that Jesus should save us from troubles. It would be nice if He rescued us from all of our difficulties. But if He saved us from our troubles we would not know of His grace and mercy. We would not know of our own strength and we would not know of His power to comfort.
Jesus does not save us from hurt and loss; but He comforts us through our hurt and loss. He does not save us from sickness and the sad spectacle of seeing our loved ones suffer, but He empowers us through the Holy Spirit to get through those low moments in our lives. Jesus does not save us from the frailties of old age and death, but He comforts us through all of those changes if we will let him.
Jesus comforts us by surrounding us with others who loves us. One of the great advantages of being in the church is to be comforted by the church family during times of hurt and sorrow. As a church family we must pull together and give those who need comforting a collective hug. During times of suffering we must share the love of God with those we love.
In times of our distress, we are also comforted by the word of God. The Bible has many powerful passages wherein God assures us of His love and presence in our lives. He says that He that is in you is stronger than he that is in the world. Jesus says to us, “Lo, I am with you always, even until the end of time.” The Psalmist says, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.”
Jesus is with us and we should receive great comfort from knowing that He is with us and knows what we are going through. He loves us and will allow the world to impose upon us a certain amount of suffering, but in the end He has something for us that will make up for all of the suffering we go through in this world. What a comforting thought? Eyes have not seen, nor ears heard, nor has it entered into the hearts of men what God has stored up for those who love him. Take comfort in His love.