Today’s Gospel (Matthew 6:24-34) reminds me of a painting I purchased from artist Ginger Leigh and her story behind the painting.
A couple of years ago I fell in love with a Ginger Leigh folk art painting of two sparrows. Ginger graciously relayed to me the inspiration behind her sparrow art. She told me that her mother and father are a part of her art team. Her father puts together the wood pieces on which she paints, and her mother helps with the painting. Working together has enriched their father-daughter relationship and made them especially close.
She went on to say that the previous year, her father suffered a heart attack. Luckily it was mild and he fully recovered; but she told me when it first happened, she was very frightened. While at the hospital and under a nurse’s care, Ginger heard her father explain to the nurse that God must have been watching over him. The nurse recalled the words to the gospel song, “For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.” Her father enjoyed hearing those words and told the nurse that when he was young, his nickname was “Sparrow”. Ginger was very surprised. As close as she and her father were, she had never heard of that nickname.
The words of the song struck a chord with her. She then researched the inspiration of the song and was inspired to create her lovely sparrow art. Ginger told me that I should read the history of the song; she said it was a wonderful story. I did – and it is!
The song was written by Civilla Martin in 1905. Civilla and her husband were travelingin New York and stayed at a boarding house owned by Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle. Mrs. Doolittle had been bedridden for about twenty years and her husband was confined to a wheelchair. Despite their obvious afflictions, the couple was happy and a delight to be around. Civilla’s husband asked the couple for their secret. Mrs. Doolittle simply replied: “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.” Two days later, Civilla wrote a poem inspired by Mrs. Doolittle’s words. These words were put to music by composer Charles H. Gabriel.
“Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart by 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.
I sing because I’m happy
I sing because I’m free
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.”
We often forget the words of Jesus: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?”
Jesus, I Trust in You!