Five for a Quarter

Five for a Quarter

Have you ever wondered how much biblical money was worth? How much was a denarius, or a talent, or in the case of today’s passage, a farthing? Well, that’s a good question. Luke 12:6 says that five sparrows were sold for two farthings. The corresponding passage in Matthew says that two sparrows were sold for a penny (same coin as a farthing). Apparently there was a discount for buying five! (There you go, penny pinchers!) But how does that translate into today’s money? A denarius would be worth about $2 in the current market. A farthing was about 1/16 of a denarius. That means that a penny or farthing was worth roughly 12.5 cents, or that two farthings would equal a quarter. When I was growing up, you could buy a piece of Double Bubble gum for a nickel. That’s roughly the same price as a sparrow in this context!

So imagine that you are sitting listening to Jesus teach and he says, “What’s a sparrow worth? A nickel? And your Father cares about each one of them even though they aren’t worth much to you. Imagine how much more He cares about you!”

Now that He has established how much God cares for you, He goes on to give some warnings, lest we get a big head and think that we’re really something special. Be careful not to focus on the immediate and neglect the eternal (verses 16-21). Don’t spend all your time worrying about the menial details (verses 22-31). Make sure that you are investing in things that will last (verses 31-34). Be ready, because the day of the Lord could come at any time (verses 35-40).

Then our good friend Peter pipes up with a good question: Is this just for the disciples, or is it for everybody? Jesus replies that this is for anyone who is a servant of God. If that describes you, then you need to pay attention to Jesus’ instructions in this passage! If Jesus were to return today, would you be content with presenting Him your life? Would you be able to say, “I was diligently working to further your kingdom and to spread the Gospel, just like you told us to do when you left!” or would you have to say, “I had great ambitions, but I wanted to do ________ first”? Maybe it was “I wanted to get married,” “I wanted to have kids,” “I wanted to make my first million,” “I wanted to retire,” or “I wanted to see my grandkids.” Regardless of what hindrance you may find, even if it’s a good thing, do you want to have to explain to Jesus why you weren’t diligently working for eternity today?

I’m so thankful that you are investing time in the Word of God today. That is a great start. But it’s not enough. Take what you read today, and go out and live diligently, so that when the King returns, you will have a joyful report to offer, rather than excuses of why you didn’t make today count for eternity.

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