This is a classic from Vance Havner.
The sermon is SPARROWS and this is his voice, preaching it the way I remember him delivering it in Roanoke Virginia back in the 70s.
I just added some music, background sounds and video of birds.
I've had an odd experience this morning. I meant to preach a sermon and somehow I can't get away from token of all things about sparrows Three times in the word. We have some very wonderful things said about sparrows. And so I, I, if I was going to say the to ought to be out here in the hillside with the trees and the birds and the mosquitoes. Here I am in a regular congregation like this, and yet I feel like, say an word from this direction. The Bible refers to nature many, many times. Now, Lord used many illustrations from that field. You have to watch these Bible scholars though. I, I prepared a sermon on the spider, take a hole with her hands and his in king's palaces.
Then I learned from the Bible scholars wasn't the spider to was a lizard, so I had to throw away homeless spiders and start working on lizards. <laugh> never have got up a sermon on lizards yet, and don't think ever will <laugh> John stock is quite a bird watcher. Uh, he sometime ago, announced as his takes consider the fouls of the air, and he said, that means watch birds. Well, that sounds like a bird watcher for you. And he's on a vacation now, I think.
And he says one thing he wants to do, catch up with his bird watching. I grew up in the hills and I mean way back in the hills. And I remember the mama always sent me up that little old dirt road to the little bitty, uh, grocery store with about a dozen eggs in the basket. We traded eggs in those days and chickens and anything. And, uh, I, uh, was told, she said, now if there's any money over, if eggs are gone up and was over, you can buy candy with what's left. I went up there just practically praying that the price of eggs would go up, <laugh>, but if we had candy, it was just steak candy, very ordinary looking candy. But that was, I'd beat all the fancy stuff I've eaten in the last few years and, uh, arm and hammer soda had a bird card in every box in those days, and I started collecting them. And that started the fever, the bird fever, and I got a bird guide and my father didn't see much sense in a thing like that and birds plentiful and didn't buy a book about it. But, uh, then that led on to binoculars, one thing after another. Now I've got all the parana still listening to the birds.
But, uh, there's always been something about the spar. Of course, you have plenty of English sparas, they're everywhere. Uh, they're town birds. They don't care for the country and they have some of the characteristics of town folks, <laugh>, you know, a country boy can learn town ways, but a town boy just can't learn country ways. You've got to be born there and grow up to know anything about that.
Well, we are reading the word of God. Our Lord tells us that, uh, two spares are sold for a farthing and five spares for two farthings. Now, if you pay two farthings, you get a bargain, yet an odd bird, you yet an odd spare. And what in this world is more inconspicuous and apparently more unimportant than an odd spare of all things. And yet our Lord uses it to say that God knows when the odd spare holds. Think about the odd spare. There are other kinds of course, but, uh, the one I like most is not the white throat, although he sings, starts off, some of the bird lovers think that it's the first few notes of the wedding.
March lifted several lochte, and it does have that sort of similarity. And then the song Sparrow who sings all day long. And, but my favorite is always the field spar because when I was a boy and working in that hot field with corn or cotton or whatever it might be, the other bird's always stop. But the er it got the better. The field spara like it me sang for me all day long. I developed an appreciation for him. But here we have the odds, pout, God cares for what seems unimportant.
The hairs of your head are numbered, the lilies of the field, God knows what the stock is in his story, knows what's on every shelf in the story, the store of the universe. And he never loses anything. Nothing disappears. And the cynic says, well, so what you see, spares lying dead.
What's that got to do with God and caring about us when we get into trouble? That sounds very cynical, but it says God knows about it no matter what happens. Even the smallest detail never escapes his notice. Nothing ever goes out of existence anyhow. They move around and change, uh, appearance and change form. You burn a stick of wood in the fireplace and some of it goes up in smoke and some of it remains in ash in the ashes, but everything's around somewhere and they just changed forms.
The whole world does like that. And uh, I read that my tears, Psalm56, 8 are in God's bottle. Did you know God's in the bottling business? And then he's keeping bottles of your tears. Uh, VELS, who's a newspaper religious writer down in Florida, told me sometime ago, she got overexposed in a TV studio to the bright lights and her eyes gave her trouble, and she went to the eye doctor and he said, you know what the best formula for the eyes is in the world.
No, he said, tears. We don't know how to make them. But that's the best formula of all because God made it. And sometimes you learn your best lessons and see your best visions through the tears.
Nothing goes outta business. We're fearfully made. After all, I've never seen you, you've never seen me. Yeah, we see each other walking around with us who their clothes on, but we look at each other's eyes, the windows. And that's the nearest, do you ever yet, uh, your eyes can't see you, see you with your eyes and something behind all this little apparatus.
And when it goes outta business one of these days, they bury it, but they don't, uh, bury you for keeps because you are going to live forever and your heirs don't hear you here with your ears. Your tongue can't talk. You talk with your tongue. You take your tongue out. Lead on the table. What we did talk about <laugh>, you do the talking. And when the tenant, when when that little tenement that you've been living in these years goes to pieces or an automobile and puts it out of business or something and they lay it away, what happens to the tenant when the tenement is disposed of?
Well, the Christian goes to be with Jesus. And that ought to be enough for the present. There'll be a lot more discovered later on. But remember, friend, that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. And I I I spend a lot of time wondering about those dear ones. And you do too.
The Bible doesn't tell us an awful lot about the Christian between dead and the resurrection. What, what does he look like? Uh, and the old bodies in the grave, he doesn't have the resurrection body. And folks say, well, what form of manifestation does he take when I'm not getting into all that?
But God will take care of it. I guarantee you that. Well, we know our loved over there. Well, you don't think we'll have less sense over there and than we've got over here there yet <laugh>. I expect to know them. And I think that, and we won't all be like eggs in the cra Oh, just alike.
I think that the, uh, peculiarities of personality to some extent, no doubt will be made affairs. And remember that he's not the God of the dead. He's the God of the living and all live unto him. Nobody's dead the side of God. Everybody's alive as far as he's concerned, that oughta cheer us up and we are waiting for the final restoration. And there won't be any odd pieces.
Everybody's going to be somewhere. Every niche shall bow first and every tongue confessed that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. That's not universal salvation, but everybody will be accounted for. They'll all have to recognize that Jesus is Lord and whoever's lost, that's for the garbage heap in the where the worm dies, not in the fire, is not quenched, but accounted for, not non-existent. I have a wonderful friend, great Presbyterian brother David Petty in Greensville.
We get together ever little while the other dangers laid something down the table when I was eating at his house. It's from Halah, the writer who probably is not a Christian at all, but this believer, speaking of hell, said, oh, we laughed today at it. We make our right remarks about it. We use it as a byword. But he said, between here and there, there's a great gov.
If we could see over it, there would be millions of millions of millions of faces and not a smile on one of them that moved me somewhat. And yet from an unbeliever, that's a strange but true comment, it seems to me. Does God care for the fallen spare? Does God care for you when the Misha comes? And then there's the lonely spare.
The psalmist wished in Psalm 102, seven said, I'm like a spare alone on the housetop. Now when the spares alone up there, probably the nest has been destroyed or the maid has been killed. And when sometimes in your life there comes that day when the nest has been destroyed and the maid killed, you know what this means? I know what this means.
I walk down these streets many times. I see two going along. I assume man and wife, and I say, well, they still have each other. And then I sort of grip that hand, uh, as though reaching out for one that isn't there. But, uh, I know that as I've told you before, I haven't lost her because I know where she is.
<laugh>, but Holmes, Robert G. Lee, oh, when my dear one passed away, that great preacher wrote a great long two page letter to me. And, uh, he used to say it, the la the latter part of his life. I'm not going home now. I'm just going back to Memphis. So Saturday I'll be leaving not for home, I'll just be leaving for Greensboro. And so here's the spar on the housetop and like that grand old spiritual that our, that the Black Saints have given to us, sometimes I feel like a motherless child.
Oh, that's a tremendous thing there. And I remember down in Florida one night, they brought out the kids from my children's school and the little folks saying, and that's, uh, the song I came, can't quote it here, but, uh, I'm glad I belong to the family of God. And in that family of God there aren't any orphans. And because, uh, uh, God has made arrangement about all that, they asked me over to Travis Avenue, that great Baptist church in Fort Worth some years ago for a conference. And when they got there, some of the folks came to me and said, there's one thing we'd like for you to talk about. Now they seem to have everything. We had our first meeting in the country club and it looked like they didn't like a thing in this world.
Pretty well fixed, most of 'em. But they said, talk to us about loneliness. Do you realize that with all our amusements and all our entertainment today, we've got more lonesome folks than we've ever had on the face of the air? Uh, they've got plenty, but that doesn't meet the need.
We're like little Amy lying in the hospital. And she was kind of unhappy that day. Little Annie said, why don't you pray? She said, how would God know it's me? Annie said, put your arms out on the counter pain and say, Lord, I'm the little girl with her arms out on the counter pain that might identify you. Oh, you ever feel that way? Sometime when trouble comes and hits heart, God's got trillions of stars to look after and billions of people.
How can he ever take time out to think about me? Well, it's because he's omnipotent and omni nation, the omnipresent. And those big long words mean that he's everywhere, knows everything and can do anything he wants to. And you can leave all that with him. Just settle this one question in your head, is God infinite? If he's infinite, then you don't put any stops anywhere because God's infinite. And that's what the a experi means.
And my Lord, when he was on earth, I have wondered so much about the fact that he didn't mix with the upper crest much. Why didn't he go to Roman Alexandrian Athens and say, I'm the son of God. Why didn't he start in this poor little country, no bigger than New Jersey, over there across the sea? And why did he, when he had only 40 days left to stay after he came back from the grave, wouldn't you have thought he would've gone and said, I'm back. I'm the only person who ever died and came back and I'm here.
No, all he does is comfort. A poor weeping woman of the Spriker have dinner with some Lonesome Es disciples and tell some poor fishermen those disciples and fish Don Knight and Cohan. That's one fish tale I believe. And tell 'em how to fish.
Lord, couldn't you abuse your time those 40 days? That something No, no. That leads me to believe that he's interested in the little things that I do and the little things that you do. And there's a place for it in the economy of God after, uh, the resurrection just went about as usual in many ways, and yet not as usual.
I'm glad his eyes on the spar and I know he watches me. Ethel Waters used to sing that in the Billy Graham meetings. Oh, she blessed her. So she'd sometimes sang at his eyes on the little bitty spar. Well, she wasn't little bitty herself <laugh>, but somehow, somehow we said, I don't care. She knew what she was saying, Bible the spirit she had.
And then finally, Psalm84, 3 tells about the spirit that builds in the temple. And uh, that is a refreshing thought and the temple of the Lord. Now God dwells not in temples made with hands, but the psalmist said Here, I want to abide. I want to stay in the temple of God. Uh, the heart of man still longs for a hiding place. Jesus lover of my soul.
Let me to I bosom fly rock of ages for me. Let me hide myself and leave He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. You'll never, you can't hide from God, that's for sure. Except in one place you can hide from God. When you are in God, that's when he's your home. When you are home in God. I think of the mother of Augustine who wanted to go with him on a trip and she was old and he said, mother, you mustn't go.
It's a long trip and you might not make it. You might die away from home. And she said, no, I, my life is hid with Christ in God and I'm home in God. And when your home's God, you can't die away from home. That does me a lot of good because I'm a lonely poral for eight years now wandering around over the country and staying in motels. And the other night when the preacher and his wife wrote me up to that when she said, the Lord will be a special me in heaven for traveling preachers who have actually live in motels and go in and turn it door, nobody there stare at the wall, wake up in the middle of the night and the old it's human to say what would happen to me? I went on in situation like this and a thousand folks can come to you.
But, uh, somehow beloved, out of all this in the past eight years, you come the richest period of my life, I wrote that little book that every nearly every other person has bolt. I think though, I walked through the valley and they call me and they write to me from everywhere saying, we buried our son. I buried my wife. We've lost this one. That <inaudible> and your little book.
Somebody gave us your little book or I've got your little book. And sometimes I'm, I sit down and get kinda low sometimes cause you never do. But I get a little low sometimes. Feel like the last rose of summer in the hailstorm sometimes. And about the time that I do, why sometime ago I was sitting in my room and I wasn't in the best position.
The phone rang and some dear brother at the other side of the country went to all the long distance trouble to call up and said, doesn't have anything to ask of in particular, just going to tell you, you've been a blessing brother. That's the best paycheck a preacher ever gets. That's the best paycheck anybody ever gets. Does anybody?
You don't have to be a preacher. Does anybody tell you you've been a blessing? You ought to be. Everybody can be a blessing. That's one vocation that's open to all of us and we can get into it. But you cannot rest in God until you nest in God.
Two words in the Bible that keep reminding me, abide, abide, abide. That means you set it down and don't go running. Just when you get in the jam, he's gracious and loves you and he'll help you then but you, it'll mean a lot more if you just stay there. Abide in the secret place and the others dwell, abide, dwell. Put some stay with it there. And doesn't mean you got to be a recluse or a hermit.
The spare doesn't stay in the nest all the time goes about his business. But uh, the Savior is not only our savior, he's our sustenance. And uh, we must feed upon him and, uh, meet every need. Si.
Lanier lived down on the last days of his life, dying of tuberculosis near Brunswick, Georgia. I had meetings there sometime ago in the First Baptist Church and cross across the marshes, had a great, uh, meeting ground old fashioned Methodist campground. And the tree out here were Lan that wrote his wonderful poems about, uh, the marsh. Him secretly builds her nest on the watery bees, on the greatness of God. That's good place to stay. And you think of Mr.
Penny as the great millionaire when he was very hell. You've heard it, you've read it. We've already dozens and dozens of times and I'd like to read it again. And then he heard some, some of the saints singing down below his room in the hospital got up and put his robe on one down there.
And there were some be not dismay. What every time God will take care of you had any more good than all appeals. He'd been taking all those weeks at the hospital. Oh, it's a good thing to remember with Madam Gaon to me remains nor place, nor time.
My country is in every climb I can be and free from Carol Shore since God is there and you have learned in whatever states you are to be contended. Romans 8 28 doesn't say, we understand how all things work together for God doesn't say that, understand it or not. It says we know it now, can you quit worrying about understanding? He can get around to knowing it. Understand it or not. I don't understand how a black cow can eat green grass and give white milk, but it's still like ice cream <laugh>. I'm not putting it all together. I know a few things and I can enjoy them.
Oh God, this is greatness flows around our incompleteness, round our restlessness, his rest. And I recall that well, the other day I was in New Orleans Baptist Seminary for some days and along with the others who came up to shake my hand was one of the faculty, a dear man of God. Sometimes we get on Bible conferences together, but I didn't know the latest. And I preached on why.
And I want to talk about that one time here. Not that I can explain why, but thank God there is a word in the book that it's all wrapped up in one great big why in this book. My God, my God. Why?
That's selfishly. And he said, didn't you not good considering the fix I'm in? Well, I didn't know what kind of a fix he was in. He'd been away holding a meeting and some keen broke into his home and murdered his wife.
Now that's something to come home to, uh, explain it. I can't, I don't know how to, I don't know why I couldn't tell him of course, but thank God to you the Lord. And in an hour like that, it's might a good thing to be home in God. And when you're home with him, uh, yours is the forgotten b attitude because my dear one went to heaven at two 15 Sunday morning and I preached at 11 and I didn't know whether I could or not, but it did. You heard me tell it maybe before John the Baptist in jail and sending of all things a delegation to Jesus.
Are you the one or do we start looking for somebody else? Now that was a low mark for John the Baptist man who had stood on the banks of the Jordan. Behold the lamb of God, that rugged man with his camel's hair, garments in his grasshopper, sally that he lived on. What a character.
And yet now he's in the dumps, he's in jail. And it's one thing to stand on Jordan and give it and another thing to stay in jail and take it. And he couldn't take it very well. Jesus didn't bowl him out. He didn't bowl out old Simon Peter for denying him. He just asked him, do you love me?
He didn't ask him, do you love sheep? Ron Dunn, my dear friend, this coming young preacher, said, when my dad and mother, dad lived, mother loved cats, but dad couldn't stand cats. But he said, after mother died and went to heaven one night we were all in front of the fireplace talking. And the old cat came in, tailed up in the air, very happy, came around, rubbed up against every one of us. When he got to dad, guess what dad did?
Picked him up, held him on his lap and stroked him. Oh, you in the rest of the conversation said, dad still wasn't fond the cats, but mother had been fond, the cats. And dad loved mother Jesus said, if you love me, you'll love the sheth. You try to work up a love for this miserable these wolves today.
Some of them, apart from that, you won't get very far. But Jesus said, go tell him. Go tell John the Baptist that I'm running on schedule <laugh> blind sing there for hearing la walking poor, having the gospel preach and then the forgotten the attitude. Nobody ever knows this one.
Blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in me. Blessed is the man who he never gets upset by the way I run my business. Now, if God's business involves something you can't figure out and you say, Lord, you must have been looking the other way. Where were you? No, no claim.
The forgotten attitude in the word. Then after all this, I had two years of my life and I couldn't sleep. I, I don't know how I lived and nervous, exhausting, and depression. And, uh, I hadn't learned what Martin Lloyd Jones, being a doctor and a preacher, both and speaking from both standpoint said, don't let yourself talk to you. You talk to yourself, <laugh>, that's a terrific thing.
Start raising all these awful questions. Stand up and say in the name of Jesus Christ, sit down. I'm going to live it. Whether I feel it or not, something will happen.
Learn. And my doctor, after I was left alone, he gave me a bottle of Valium and said, brother, if you can't sleep, take this. Well, I, I said, now Lord, I'm not gonna become a Valium. I'm not getting hooked on that stuff.
I threw my bottle away and I said, if I'm gonna preach, I got to sleep and thank the Lord. I've been sleeping. Sometimes it's the other way now, like that old boy out in the country country I came from, went to the doctrine and said, I'm having trouble sleeping. And doctor said, how does it work?
What I do all right of a night and pretty well in the afternoon, but seemed like of a morning I just rolled and thought so. So I just want to tell you, thank God it works. Thank God it works. If you're alone on the house top, you feel like it. You don't know where to go, people come and some of 'em don't say the right things. And all alone with the pillow wet, with tears in the middle of the night.
You can't tell folks they've got enough burdens of their own. Thank God the watchman of the universe never goes to sleep. He is neither and day on the job. And I'm like the old bishop who read that he keepeth Israel, shall neither slumber or sleep read that in the middle of the night. And he looked and said, Lord, if you're sitting up, I'm going to bed. Good night <laugh>. So all the way my savior leads me. What have I asked? Beside cannot Audis tender mercy, who through life has been my God.