Are you ever afraid? Do you ever worry? Are you ever discouraged? What are some things that discourage you? (Give the children an opportunity to answer.) Here are some things that might cause worry, fear or discouragement:
• Feeling neglected
• Feeling that you don't have any friends
• Failure in school or other activities
• Illness or injury
• Criticism from others
Today I want to tell you a story about a woman named Civilla Martin who wrote a song about overcoming fear, worry, and discouragement. Mrs. Martin and her husband were visiting a couple named Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle who lived in Elmira, New York. Mr. Doolittle was crippled and had to move about a wheelchair. Mrs. Doolittle had been confined to bed for over twenty years. Despite the problems they faced in life, they always seemed to be have a cheerful outlook on life. Mr. Martin asked Mrs. Doolittle, "How do you manage to remain so joyful when you face so many problems?" Mrs. Doolittle's reply was simple. "If God has his eye on the sparrow, then I know he is watching over me."
Mrs. Martin was so touched by Mrs. Doolittle's reply that she wrote a poem that was to become the basis for a song that has brought peace and comfort to people for over a hundred years.
“Why should I feel discouraged? Why should the shadows come? Why should my heart feel lonely, and long for heaven and home? When Jesus is my portion, a constant friend is He. His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches over me. His eye is on the sparrow; and I know He watches me. I sing because I’m happy. I sing because I’m free! His eye is on the sparrow; and I know He watches me. His eye is on the sparrow; and I know He watches me.”
The next day Civilla Martin mailed the poem to Charles Gabriel, a gospel songwriter, who wrote a tune for it. "The rest," as they say, "is history."
The truth of the message of the song, "His Eye Is on the Sparrow" is found in our Bible lesson for today. In Matthew chapter 10, Jesus was teaching his disciples that even though they were going to be facing some difficult times as his followers, they should not be afraid. He said to them, "Two sparrows are sold for one copper coin, but not one single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. So don't be afraid, you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows."
Isn't that amazing? God knows everything that we go through. Nothing that happens to us that he doesn't know about. When we feel lonely and totally abandoned, when it seems that our prayers are unanswered, when everything seems hopeless, God knows and God cares.
Father, we know that your eye is on the sparrow, and we know that you are watching over us. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
"His Eye Is on the Sparrow"