Hymns & Songs

You are worth more than many sparrows

Oct 2017    

Have you ever felt that your world is caving in on you and the things that matter in your life (e.g. career, family, ministry) are not working out? It gets so bad you start to feel discouraged and wonder if God even cares. You may even wonder, “Does God really care for me?”

Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31, NIV)

These Bible verses inspired the texts of one of my favorite hymns, ‘His Eye is on the Sparrow’, written by Civilla Durfee Martin (1866-1948) after a visit to her dear friend, Mrs Doolittle, in 1904.

Mrs Doolittle had been bed-ridden for 20 years. When Civilla asked if she ever got discouraged because of her physical condition, the dear old lady said, “Mrs Martin, how can I be discouraged when my heavenly Father watches over each little sparrow and I know He loves and cares for me?”1 These simple words of boundless faith touched Civilia and inspired her to write one of the most influential and well-loved gospel hymns of the 20th century.

It is amazing how the most common things in life, such as birds, flowers, and grass in the field can lead us to such profound truths. How much more, God says, “do I care for you if I care for the birds that have no barns and the flowers that need not spin or toil for their splendour?” (Matthew 6:26-30, paraphrased)

In our heavenly Father’s eyes, all of us are precious in His sight and no one is insignificant. In Jesus, we have a “constant friend” (stanza 1) who leads us one step at a time (stanza 2). So let us not dwell in the shadows or fret over our troubles because Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” (John 14:1, Revised Standard Version)

For “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me”.

His Eye is on the Sparrow (Hymns of United Worship, #218)
Why should I feel discouraged?
Why should the shadows come?
Why should my heart be lonely
and long for heaven and home,
when Jesus is my portion?
My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me.

Refrain:
I sing because I’m happy, (I’m happy)
I sing because I’m free (I’m free),
for His eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,”
His tender word I hear,
and resting on His goodness,
I lose my doubts and fears;
though by the path He leadeth
but one step I may see:
His eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me. (refrain)

Words: Civilla D. Martin, 1905
Music: Charles H. Gabriel, 1905

 

1 Kenneth W. Osbeck, Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions (Grand Rapids, Mich: Kregel Publications, 1990), 138.

Dr Yeo Teck Beng –
is a member of Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church.

Picture by Nataba/Bigstock.com

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