Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.
I have never been great at math. Whenever the kids struggled with their math homework they NEVER came to me. Only one word was on their lips: Mom.
But, to my credit (I’m patting myself on the back now), if they ever had to give a speech then I was their go-to guy!
OK, back to math…
Today in my devotions I read Matthew 10. Jesus says this in verses 29-31:
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground a part from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Isn’t that amazing? There is not a single bird that falls from the sky without God noticing. And, boy, how much more important are we than a few birds? So much more important that God even knows every hair on your head (or lack thereof for some of you).
But here’s where the math gets funny.
In Luke 12 we read a parallel version of this story. It goes like this:
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Did you catch that?
I’m not a smart man (said in the voice of Forrest Gump), but I definitely caught the difference between the two Gospel accounts.
One says two sparrows are sold for a penny.
The other says five sparrows are sold for two pennies.
Is it 2 for 1 or 5 for 2?
Imagine one hard-working sparrow vendor selling two for a penny. Then imagine going down the block only to find another industrious vendor selling five for two cents.
Why would anyone be selling sparrows in the first place? Well, in biblical days a sparrow was an acceptable form of sacrifice if a person could not afford to buy a lamb or goat. People at or below the poverty line would buy sparrows for the temple sacrifice for one primary reason:
They. Are. Cheap.
Whether they are two for a penny or five for two pennies…sparrows are cheap.