But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows» (Luke 12:7).
In today’s verse, Jesus uses the diminutive word struzos to refer to these birds: the house sparrows. The sparrow is a very intelligent bird with an extreme ability to adapt. The proof is in the fact that throughout history it has coexisted with humans, both in big cities and in rural areas, always taking advantage of man’s presence. In fact, roof tiles and other architectural nooks have provided shelter to these birds, and human food waste has been a source of nourishment for them. Despite its abilities, the sparrow is considered an ordinary, common, and plain bird. That’s how it is today and that’s how it was in the time of Jesus.
The Master uses these little birds as examples of the humblest in the animal kingdom for their low monetary value. He tells us, «Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin?» (Matt. 10:29) and in another gospel, «Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins?» (Luke 12:6). It was like a special offer, where if you bought four, the fifth was free. But how much was a copper coin worth? The original Greek word translated as «cooper coin» is assarion. One assarion was the sixteenth part of one denarius, which was the day’s wage of a worker. In short, a coin was the payment for half-hour’s worth of labor.
The Lord takes the extreme example of these undervalued birds to make us understand that God’s love does not lessen no matter how small the human being might be. Moreover, our smallness can make us especially vulnerable to fear. That’s why the message of Jesus guarantees us that, no matter how small those birds are, our value as human beings is superior (v. 6); thus, we should «not fear.» The previous verses speak of the fear of losing one’s life and advise us not to be afraid of those who may kill us, but of those who push us to eternal perdition (v. 5).
Maybe you have been told (or shown through other people’s attitude) that you have little worth. Maybe you are passing through such an uncertain or dark situation that you are overwhelmed by fear. For circumstances such as these, God has given us today’s verse, so that we can remember that if He takes care of the humble sparrow, He most certainly is ready and willing to get us out of whatever trouble we may be facing. Remember that God values things and people differently than humans beings do.