Down Nature's Paths



I LOVE English sparrows. Over long years of fighting aversion to these pesky pests, I have developed a deep regard for them. They illustrate the plan of salvation better than any other birds.

It was not by accident that Jesus chose sparrows as symbols of the members of the human race, there is much resemblance. They are careless and untidy and selfish and quarrelsome and ungrateful and noisy and impudent and destructive and sparrows! They are not fit to associate with. Spare their nest under the eaves, and they will fill their benefactor's house with vermin. Put out bird food, and they allow no others at the feeding station. They harry the modest bluebirds away from birdhouses they cannot use themselves. Even the jolly and wholesome house wrens vanish before the pugnacious bad manners of sparrows. Dainty orioles and royal cardinals shun the company of filthy sparrows fighting over ordure in the road ruts. Few birds could sink lower.

It is hard to find anything good to say for sparrows. We dislike them so much we seldom stop to look carefully at one and see that it is not entirely without beauty.

Poor sparrows! If they had human thoughts, a lot of their pugnaciousness would be hurt feelings. We cultivate the association of our big human brothers, they might say, and do they love us for it? Not as you could notice. They lavish all their liking on the flashy-colored birds. It's no use trying to be good; nobody loves us. (How many of the mean things done by human beings have grown out of thwarted longings to be loved!)

But Someone loves the sparrows. There is Someone who notes their needs and marks their deaths—Someone who quoted His care for the sparrows as the symbol of His care for me. I wonder if He can see anything more to love in me than I do in sparrows. But Jesus loved sparrows because they needed His love—just why He loves me.

Also Jesus knew that sparrows had not always been so degraded; they were not so unlovely in Eden. And once in a while now a sparrow has a little flash of its former beautiful nature. Once I heard astonishingly sweet bird tones coming very softly from one of my office windows which was hidden by a bookcase. Peeking, I saw on the sill two sparrows loving each other with strokings of wings and kisses of bills and the sweetest bird lovetones I ever heard. And once Fern and I, chatting on my house steps, were startled by a burst of glorious melody, unknown in our bird acquaintance. It came from an English sparrow on the eaves above us. We both saw and heard while he repeatedly sang.

Sparrows are members of the family of weaver finches, to which belong the interesting weaver birds of Asia and Africa. Jesus loved them for what they were in Eden and what they will be when He recreates them in the new earth—just exactly why He loves us.