“His Eye Is On The Sparrow” by Civilla D. Martinby Dr. Zelda Robinson on April 5, 2022
Have you ever taken some time to watch birds? It is amazing to watch them gather their food, to wash or cool themselves in small puddles of water. The sparrow is one of the most common birds in this region. It is not an ‘attention getter’ like the eagle, it is not colorful like the peacock, nor is it as popular as the chicken.
While the sparrow’s plumage may not be as attractive as the bluebird or a redbird, they are interesting birds. These little brown birds liven up any area they gather in. Whether hopping and pecking at food around the bird feeder or ‘searching’ the garden for left over seeds, these little birds are amazing. They also are amazing singers! Another of their traits is that being songbirds. Their songs are beautiful and melodic. They can be heard early in the morning and late at night.
Civilla Durfee Martin, a schoolteacher was born in Nova Scotia and died in Atlanta, Ga. Civilla and her husband Walter, a Baptist minister, wrote several gospel songs for revival services, including, “Be Not Dismayed.” Her song, “His eye is on the sparrow” has become one of the most influential gospel hymns of the 20th century. It has been recorded several times by an array of artists, from Mahalia Jackson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Dottie West and Barbara Mandrell to Shirley Ceasar, Marvin Gaye, and others.
According to what was written about Mrs. Martin, she was inspired to write this hymn based on a relationship she and her husband developed with an couple they met in New York while traveling there. The couple, described as “true saints of God.” The wife had been bedridden for almost 20 years and her husband was wheelchair bound. Despite their afflictions, both lived a happy Christian life, inspiring all who knew them. When the wife was asked the secret to their hopefulness, she credited it to God, replying: “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.” The wife’s response, a simple expression of faith inspired the Martins to write the words of this hymn.
Since God keeps His eye on the tiny, insignificant sparrow, we can be certain He will watch over you and me.
Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heav’n and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He:
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.
“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 clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:25-26