His Eye is on the Sparrow

His Eye is on the Sparrow

By: Susan Schiller

The song, "His Eye is on the Sparrow," has been playing on the Spirit station of my mind. "Economic justice" is a phrase I've been running into a lot lately, and it's message is burrowing deep into my mind. Down beneath the layers of self-preservation.

Who are these sparrows that Christ talks about – the ones His Father's eyes are upon? The ones He is fascinated by?

29 Not one sparrow (What do they cost? Two for a penny?) can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. 30 And the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t worry! You are more valuable to him than many sparrows. – Matthew 10:29-31

Written by Civilla Martin more than 100 years ago, "His Eye is on the Sparrow" was inspired by a bedridden elderly woman and her disabled husband who supported her from his wheelchair. This couple simply adored each other and cherished every day together.

They didn't marvel at their "impossible" circumstances, they simply marveled at their great God and how "His eye is on the sparrow."

Most of the year, the sparrows in my backyard must wait for the blackbirds, the bluebirds, and the robins to move out of the way. Lowest in the pecking order, they are often chased away. I have seen many of us, Christians we call ourselves, do the very same to the "least of these". It's been this way since before Ezekiel penned chapter 34 of the book by his name.

Why is it that some Christians experience a continuous stream of bad luck, even after they've broken curses, gone through inner healing and deliverance, and have read nearly all the books, attended the conferences, and a applied the knowledge to the best of their ability?
 
I ponder this as a friend who recently lost a 2-year old daughter to an unknown disease wrote to say her house burned down in a fire just before Christmas. Three days later her sister died. She sits in a temporary apartment, overwhelmed, as her husband's employer cannot meet his payroll and they are about to be evicted.
 
Why does this deep level of suffering and pain seem to happen to the BEST people?
 
 
Maybe they are sparrows. It doesn't mean they are less valuable, less intelligent, or less needed in the Kingdom of God. Maybe they dwell among us for a reason. A blessing in disguise.
 
Or, maybe some of them are put into these impossible circumstances to test the Christians in their local area. We see this kind of test when God sent angels to Sodom. To the "aliens and strangers" who walked in the wilderness, having a home to rest and be strengthened was a matter of survival.
 
Hospitality is an ancient, sacred practice that makes sense in today's world, don't you think?
 
Jesus sent out His disciples in the expectation of this sacred practice of hospitality. (Matthew 10)
 
How we treat the "least of these" – including how we silently look away, walk away, and ignore their needs, as well as when we attend to their needs, perhaps increases or diminishes the appearance of heaven on earth.
 

“As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord … this was the sin of your sister Sodom:  She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.”  – Ezekiel 16:48-50

What?? I used to think Sodom was destroyed because of sexual immorality, most notably, homesexuality! But no, homosexuality is not listed as Sodom's greatest sin. It's neglect of justice. It's ignoring the suffering right outside our door!

In light of Micah 6:7-8, these are our daily marching orders.

"He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?" (NKJV)

When Christ came to earth he tried to show us that we were living life backwards and it was hell for the majority of us, with only 1-2 % of the population getting the benefits of an abundant life. He tried to help us understand that abundance is the inheritance of us all, even down to the least sparrow.

On an individual level, I must repent for my religious background, my own mispractices, and my own pride and prejudices… because there is still suffering outside my door. Any too many times I'm oblivious, or in my own state of overwhelmed, I close my eyes when there might be something I could do, even simply to pray.

In the parable of the goats and sheep, the only mark of distinction was how they treated the sparrows – those the world deemed less worthy.

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ – Matthew 25:31-46

Maybe it's not simply food or money they need. Maybe they just want to feel normal for a moment. Maybe they just want to fit in. Maybe they want to be respected and honored as part of the Body of Christ… and not put into the category of a "needy person". 

I'm speaking of the orphans and widows of sociopathic abuse, specifically, because these victims, in so many cases, cannot escape their predators due to economic distress.

They haven't done anything wrong. They are not a danger to society. They are simply sparrows.

Just because a "larger bird" has a house, a car, a retirement account, air conditioning and furnace, and a full refrigerator does not mean they are better than the victim of a sociopath who has lost everything.

When we pretend to know the answers and we lean on our own understanding, we just might be like the robin, the blackbird, or the blue jay who chases away the sparrow.

They may be a blessing in disguise. They may be God's messenger sent to test you, regarding the practice of hospitality and your obedience to God's call.

It may not be your ministry, your counseling, your teaching that they most need. Maybe they just need to be seen, to be heard, to be respected for all they are going through. Maybe they just need to be with someone NORMAL!

There is great healing for victims of sociopaths, simply in hanging out with normal people. Do you know what usually happens instead? When we are not shunned we are ignored. We are called "too needy" and "too much". Worse, what happens most of the time is we are exploited. Almost unbelievable, but true, it's mainly Christians who exploit us.

They see a sparrow, and like the black birds and blue jays, they are not content to push us away, but they take advantage of our weakness, forcing us to work without pay. Odd? Incredible? Yes, but I just have way too many stories that confirm this as true in the majority of cases. I'm talking about Christian LEADERS in both business and ministry. And their followers turn their heads, pretending not to notice what is happening in broad daylight!

Abusers are having a hey-day because nice Christian ladies don't want to get dirty, messy, and bothered by the torn up, chewed up, and emaciated spiritual bodies of survivors of domestic violence.

There are ones who offer healing ministry, saying, "We want to minister to you. if you pay us $2000 you can have 20 hours of personal counseling and follow up care via email. They justify demanding payment for casting out the victim's demons, saying, "We've discovered that people who pay for their ministry obtain the greatest benefits." (Exact quote). No more "freely you have received, so freely give".

Can I count how many Christian leaders see a sparrow – a victim of sociopathic abuse – and lure her into a safe harbor only to expect sexual favors? Who will people believe? Her, the down and out person… or the charitable figure they know and love?

Our Father's eye in on the sparrow. Let's be His eye… and His hand… and His feet. I cannot help but speak up for justice. There is no pecking order in the Kingdom of heaven – not like we think here on earth.

Is there a solution? I think it's so simple that we don't see it.

How about a return to the biblical practice of hospitality? Jesus seemed to think it relevant. See what he says in Matthew 10 about sending people out to minister – they were to depend on hospitality, not fundraising.

How would this ancient practice look like today? Like Facebook-in-person …. everyone attuned to status updates, really listening, really seeing, and then doing something to love the person in front of them. My granddaughter saw this in a vision and I wrote it down for us at "Live the 13th".

I'm utterly convinced we can write ourselves into a better world. You see, when I write what has just been written here, I'm not just blowing a horn to raise awareness of the injustice sociopathic victims experience… no, I'm speaking to my own self… as a survivor of sociopathic abuse… to RISE UP and to BE THE SOLUTION for the people outside my door.

"Who is my neighbor?" a man once asked Jesus, as he told the story of the Good Samaritan. Indeed… sometimes I wonder if I have not experienced so much injustice myself… because my heart was so hardened inside my Christian bubble… that I had become part of a cult, part of a diabolical plan to erase true religion off the planet. I still weep….

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With all my love,

Sue

Susan Schiller knows how it feels to lose everything: marriage and family, church and reputation, finances and businesses, and more. Susan's upcoming, interactive memoir, "On the Way Home," tells the story of how she came to be known as "the most abused woman" her counselors had yet met and how she learned to navigate to freedom and fullness.  

Today Susan helps people write their life stories, unearthing the treasures of their past and sowing them into their future, creating new family legacies.

Copyright © 2010 to 2016 Team Family Online, All rights reserved.   For reprint permission or for any private or commercial use, in any form of media, please contact Susan Schiller

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan Schiller January 12, 2016 at 9:11 am

If you can remember this one scripture all year, you will have the proper perspective that God can bless, the earth is The Lords, and everything in it” – 1st Corinthians, 10:26.God, not us, owns everything. He blesses us out of HIS abundance. Here is a major misconception, “there are too many squirrels and not enough nuts, I have to scrap, fight, and compete to get my share.” Wrong. The truth is, God created way more than all of us would ever need in a lifetime. There are way more nuts then there are squirrels, the problem starts when the squirrels go nuts reacting to their own faulty perspective of God’s benevolence.Luke 12:24, Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap; they have no storehouse or barn, yet God feeds them. How much more valuable are you than the birds!

If you had a wealthy father who left you an inheritance, would you have to fight for it? No–you would just receive it! If you live a life that is motivated more by giving than it is by receiving, you will never be able to exhaust your storehouse.

Let’s start our new year thinking not about me, but we, and let’s focus more on us, NOT versus. Oh, that we might be one. — Michael Tyrell

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Marvia February 16, 2014 at 4:15 pm

beautiful and deep. So good to be reminded that we are all precious in His sight in to remember the least of these.

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Susan Schiller February 16, 2014 at 5:03 pm

A little kindness goes a long way, and you, Marvia, are the Queen of Encouragement and Kindness!! Thanks 🙂

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Carolyn Hughes February 10, 2014 at 2:48 pm

I love your reminder to be kind to the sparrows in our lives. A little kindness can go such a long way. I have a lot of sparrows ( the feathered variety!) visit the garden each day and as I feed them I think of God's instruction not to worry because we are worth so much more. 

I wish everyone could heed your message here Susan and make a point of helping someone in need each day. The world would be a much more compassionate place.

 

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Susan Schiller February 10, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Dear Carolyn,

You’ve sent so much kindness my way through the years and I can only imagine the joy you receive in watching the sparrows out your garden and meditating on God’s loving provision. I’m asking and believing God for GREAT provision for you for the upcoming projects in your life.

May God splash back on you twice the blessings you’ve invested in all of our lives! 🙂

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Sharon ODay February 10, 2014 at 12:51 pm

Reading your article, Sue, I realize that through my life I have seen and helped the 'sparrows' around me sometimes more, sometimes less.  But my heart tells me: never enough.  My reaching out and giving of my knowledge these past years is a small form of that but, I recognize, with limited direct involvement in individual lives, except for a few.  (I've made note of that for future plans.)  Again, as always, Sue, thanks for opening my eyes.

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Susan Schiller February 10, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    You’ve treated me as a sparrow, Sharon, always – every time – in an empowering way. It’s a counter-culture way of treating others as if they are Christ incarnated in human flesh, which I believe we all are. You’ve been one of the key people who has helped raise me up, even in the midst of my darkest days. I will forever be grateful to you, Sharon!

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Sally York February 6, 2014 at 11:04 pm

I cannot begin to tell you how bearing this is for me today.  Circumstances have brought a lot of old pain into my heart today.  Ministry abuse, friendship abuse, always trying to do the "right thing" by standing for injustice and unrighteousness brings me time and time again to my knees.  Thank you for sharing….how beautiful your words of encouragement are, they are like honey and a balm to sooth and heal the soul.  May God bless you more and more my dear Susan!  Much love!

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Susan Schiller February 7, 2014 at 9:14 am

I’m thinking of you and praying as God leads me all day, Sally….

Kelli Jo Holley has said: “Abusers target victims, in part, for their natural inclination toward healing humankind. Your great empathy, compassion and awareness of the pain of others is the soft-spot on your underbelly that abusers target first.”  < -- You and Erv are such deeply compassionate people who would embrace the whole world in your fatherly and motherly arms. It's no wonder you get targeted... but God's eyes are on you!

I’m just praying God’s comfort and healing tenderly sweep over your bruised parts…. down deep into the old ones, too…. penetrating to the very core of you… with peace, hope, and all of Papa’s fervent affection for you breaks through into those deep waters of your being.

I wish I could be there with you….

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Pat Moon February 6, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Amen! Amen! Amen! A beautiful yet heart wrenching article. Am I sensitive to the sparrows in my life? Sometimes I feel like a sparrow. I love that song, "His Eye Is On The Sparrow." My husband has a beautiful voice. I love to hear him sing that song. A dear family friend passed away about 3 years ago at age 95. That was one of her favorite songs. Another of her favorite songs was "Others." I will never forget how I felt the time she personally requested my husband and I to sing that song for her 90th birthday party. She was one of those people who truly lived for others. She was such a role model for so many people, including myself. I miss her so much… no matter who a person was on the social ladder, she went out of her way to lift them up. "I know He watches over me."
 

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Susan Schiller February 6, 2014 at 6:12 pm

Your description of this dear elderly lady leaves me in awe! I hope I will be like when I’m her age! I think as we age we simply become MORE of who we already are… so I can only imagine the beautiful life has lived.

How wonderful you and your husband can sing together – and how fun! The more I hear of your family, Pat, the more blessed I believe you are… and that is a beautiful thing… I’m so glad you have shared – thank you!!!

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Cyn Rogalski February 6, 2014 at 1:03 pm

A great message!
Love the word pictures–I’ve been a sparrow…. but I’ve also been a bullying blue jay.
Timely message with much to think about.
Cyn Rogalski recently posted..‘Twas The Day After Christmas-2013My Profile

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Susan Schiller February 6, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Me too, Cyn, I’ve been both… it’s good to see from both sides. I think I tend to get too hard-headed in defense of the sparrows.

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Marya February 6, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Great thoughts here – we all need to be reminded!

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Susan Schiller February 6, 2014 at 12:47 pm

Thank you, Marya… there’s so much to think through. I appreciate you stopping by and reading 🙂

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Nicole Bandes February 6, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Thank you for sharing. This doesn't just apply to Christians, but anyone with a good heart.

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Susan Schiller February 6, 2014 at 12:24 pm

You’re right, Nicole, so very right. And thank you for sharing! 🙂

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