The Great Smoky Mountains and Appalachians are my favorite vacation spots in all the world. Honestly, I think I would love any mountains, but these ranges are accessible to me. When I go there, I go to see the view… the hills, the trees, the flowers, the waterfalls, the animals and insects, and even the spiders captivate my attention. But I seldom go there to see the people. Other people are there, to be sure, but they are faces in a crowd. Sometimes we are courteous enough to take a photo of each other, but how often do we stop to get to know one another? Why is it that I would rather stare out the window of a tour bus at the passing scenery than mingle with the stranger next to me?
God gives us richly all things to enjoy (I Tim. 6:17), this much is true. He created the mountains and valleys, the streams and waterfalls, the birds and deer, the trees and flowers, the butterflies and spiders—but He also created the men and women that to you and me are mere faces in the crowd. And these people—you and me included—are the most important of all God’s creation.
Matthew gives us an illustration of how valuable we are to God. He is referring to sparrows that were sold in the outer court for an offering in the temple. They were dirt cheap, sold to the poor people.
Matthew 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.
Luke gives the same illustration, but with a different price tag.
Luke 12:6-7 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Evidently the merchants were running a sale: Buy 4, get 1 free! It was said that some of the sparrows were weak and poorly, and therefore hard to sell. So to get rid of these misfit sparrows, they would throw them in for free to anyone who would buy four more.
God cares even for that useless, unwanted, fifth sparrow. And He finds you and me to be that much more valuable!
So, the next time you go on vacation, to the mountains or wherever you like to go, don’t be a pest, but do take time to see the people around you for who they are—men and women, boys and girls, who are loved by God with an everlasting love—just like He loves you! And of some, have compassion, making a difference!
Jude 22 And of some have compassion, making a difference.
Photo taken along Skyline Drive, Virginia, 2014