Written by Rosh Koch
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again and again… I truly feel that the book of acts and the Holy Spirit was never intended to have an ending. The apostles have carried out their stories for two thousand years. The true sadness is in the realization that we have lost track of their stories; of our stories. These stories desperately need to be told in order for God’s people to remember how He has moved throughout the earth, making great revelations through the lives of people who were less than great.
I prayed that God would reveal to me the many ways that He uses his dysfunctional children to be His witness. I found that when you pray a bold prayer, God will always answer. If He doesn’t, then you need to open your eyes and look, and open your ears and listen, and close your mouth and be quiet. I know this because He answered me.
I find a special admiration for the sparrow. Jesus spoke quite often about this tiny bird. Most people would just overlook the little creature because it bears such little significance in their lives. The sparrow brings little to the table. I fancy myself to be like the sparrow: small (in a global point of view), clumsy, primitive, wandering and flighty. There are many characteristics of the sparrow with which I can identify.
I do not see myself like the eagle: majestic, powerful and commanding. Eagles hunt, kill and devour. Eagles dominate the skies and make their presence known. Eagles have razor sharp beaks and talons for tearing apart flesh and a war cry that can be heard for miles and miles. They are strong and move quickly. No, I am not the eagle.
Nor do I see myself like the raven; king of the scavengers. Ravens are black and intimidating. They are ruthless and unforgiving. Ravens are the intellectuals who think through their actions, right down to the most minute detail. Ravens are strong opportunists who cackle and criticize the other birds. I am surely not a raven.
Owls are admirable birds. Their wisdom and knowledge is accented by their keen sense of observation. They gobble down their food and digest upon it night and day. Their call is one of eerie foreboding, and their eyesight is fixed only upon the far, not the near. Owls live alone and therefore must be very lonely. I could not bear the burden of being an owl.
Then there are the pigeons and the seagulls: Filthy leeches who are addicted to human beings, their cities and their foods. Born into an addiction of the world. These birds are widely regarded for being stupid, ungraceful and brazenly selfish. If I were one of these moronic pests, I would ingest an alka-seltzer and go out with a bang.
Nor am I a parrot or a peacock, hiding behind my beauty or my loud mouth and social skills; nor a canary, whose pretty song is locked away within a cage.
No, I am definitely a sparrow. Sparrows are communal birds who make nests for short periods of time. Their nests are never organized and are usually piled into something that is already there. Sparrows adapt to their environment and can live off scraps and leftovers. Sparrows feed on the seeds the sower throws that do not take root. They are omnivorous and scavenge, but aren’t disgusting like a vulture. Sparrows make an effort to live full of freedom, having little which ties them down.
Sure, sparrows might not be the cleanest birds. They might be a little rough around the edges. But they are clever, and crafty, and very friendly. They belong to the genus Passer. How appropriate as I often pass through different towns and experiences, living out as much love as possible. The sparrow isn’t known for its perfect song, but they do sing, and sometimes it is beautiful.
Jesus once told his disciples, “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows,” (Matt 10:29-31, NASB). I am happy enough knowing that my loving Father won’t let me fall without His blessing, let alone to know that He has my hairs counted and values me more than the sparrow. I’m content being a sparrow.
The cool thing about these birds is that God made them all. They all serve a purpose. They all have a reason for being. They all play a pivotal role in the unfolding of the world’s inner workings. This is all a part of God’s master plan, which we cannot even begin to fully comprehend. I do not even always comprehend what the Holy Spirit wants me to see. Sometimes it takes a few weeks to sink in.
In the past eighteen months, I have been humbled to witness the joy and unashamed adoration of the charismatic people. Long have I stood with arms crossed and eyes rolled. I do not need to dissertate the dogma or the theological differences, but I have learned to appreciate the mostly genuine and childlike faith and love of their worship. I have met pastors of super mega churches and slept in their homes. Long have I been critical of those who God has entrusted with so many resources. Although if it were me, I would hope that I would live more modestly, but their generosity has opened their home to countless sparrows like myself.
Perhaps I owe an apology to the people who devote themselves to living in a seemingly empty state of grace. I have been harsh on those who preach with extremely deep conviction and who hold up a standard that is high and intimidating and to me not fun or free at all. However, many of these men and women exercise such incomparable devotion and discipline. Their self-sacrifice goes beyond their time and resources, it becomes the very way they craft their lives.
And what of the people with their eyes trans fixed upon the future. They delve deep into the imagery of the prophets and of the world’s current affairs, drawing parallels and charting out fulfilled prophecies. It is not our business to know the day, for even the angels do not know the day that Christ will return, but these men and women keep their eyes open as a lookout. They follow the scriptures through deep study and through heavy research. Their prudent efforts remind us of how close Christ is to returning and how urgent we ought to be about our father’s business. I have seen wealth and I have seen poverty. I’ve seen “poor in riches” vs. “poor and spirit” and rarely are they the same. Quite the opposite, actually. Most of the wealthy people that I have seen have been so miserable. But I am starting to realize that God made us all. We are all different, and that is absolutely beautiful.
I was at a three day cross-denominational (including protestant, orthodox, and catholic) men’s retreat and one of the spiritual directors, who was a Methodist minister, spoke to us, and specifically to my heart. He said, as a methodist, he had no right and no ability to claim that he and his denomination had the market cornered on the truth found in disciplines and works that are inherently argued about. As long as we have our core, which is found in the trinity: God the creator, Jesus the redeemer, and Holy Spirt the motivator; the Bible: truthful account of history; and the call to live out God’s love, then we have the foundation necessary to bring about a world revolution!
We are many parts of one body. If we can stop arguing about our differences for a few minutes and recognize the complexity of the human body and the infinite complexity of the spiritual body of Christ, then even greater things can be accomplished. If we can show grace and mercy to the small parts of our dogmatic doctrine and recognize that God has flexibility for all of us to be used for His greater good, than we will be able to move. Until that day, we remain crippled and crawling.
I am a sparrow. I flutter here and there. I live small and live lightly. I carry small burdens because I have learned to pass up the larger burdens to my Jesus. My song is not perfect, but it is beautiful.
Thank you for letting me share my thoughts!
– Rosh Koch