The Sparrow and the Penny
By Andy Gilmer
Once upon a time, there was a little sparrow living in a thicket on a narrow road to Jerusalem. One day, as the little sparrow was feeding, a large crowd of people led by a man named Jesus came by. He was a man like no other the little sparrow had ever seen. He was mighty yet gentle, and the people listened intently to every word he spoke. The little sparrow perched in a tree over the road to do the same.
As Jesus passed under the little sparrow, he began to say, "Five sparrows are sold for two pennies..."
"Five sparrows for two pennies!" chirped the little sparrow. "This means I alone am worth almost half a penny!"
Excitedly, the little sparrow flew into town to find out how much a penny would buy. He knew if he could find the worth of a penny, he would know how much he was worth. I must go to the market where the people go, the little sparrow thought. The ones who sell things will surely know the value of a penny.
When he came to the market, the little sparrow perched above the shoemaker. Surely I am worth more than something people put on their feet, he thought. But he found the shoes were worth much more than a penny.
Next he flew to the potter’s tent. "I am much more valuable than something used to carry water," the little sparrow said with confidence. Yet, after watching the people come and go, he saw a clay pitcher cost much more than a penny also.
From shop to shop, the little sparrow flew until he had been to every merchant in town -- the carpenter, the blacksmith, the garment maker, even the fisher and the baker. Knowing now everything else was worth much more than a penny and he himself was only worth half a penny, the little sparrow became very sad. He knew he must find Jesus again. If anyone knows how much I am worth, it is Jesus, the little sparrow thought.
The little sparrow knew Jesus taught in the temple, so he went there and sat in the window to wait on the Lord.
Now, while the little sparrow was waiting, he saw something that filled his eyes with tears and made his little heart sink. A poor widow entered the temple and put a penny in the treasury. Since the widow received nothing back for the offering she gave, the little sparrow now thought he too must be worth nothing. As the little sparrow began to cry, the widow began to pray.
"Father in Heaven," she prayed, "thank you for providing for all of my needs each day. You have taught us five sparrows are sold for two pennies..."
At the sound of this familiar and painful truth, the little sparrow turned to go. But just as he was about to spread his wings and fly away, the widow continued and he heard the most wonderful words he could have ever imagined.
"...yet not one of them is forgotten by You."
"Not one is forgotten by God? That means I am treasured in heaven!" chirped the little sparrow. The little sparrow’s heart lifted as he joyfully hurried home to tell his friends everything he had learned.
That was the day the little sparrow learned his worth did not come from others. His worth came from Jesus, and to Jesus he was worth more than every penny in the world – and so are you.
Andy Gilmer lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He grew up in this beautiful area and likes mountain-biking, hiking and bird watching. He enjoys being able to bring the good news of Jesus into his stories. You can send Andy a message by using the Letters page at this magazine.
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