The tall Dinka man was pointing at me, while addressing my teammate Marsha. Since Marsha was a friend of Dinka John,* and is my elder, apparently she was qualified to broker my bride price. I suddenly became very interested in their conversation.
“I will give twenty cows for her,” offered Dinka John. The Dinka are known far and wide for their cattle, which are their prized possession. They accumulate cattle like Americans collect…well, everything. Cattle equals wealth.
Without batting an eye, Marsha countered, “She is worth far more than twenty cows; she is worth twenty thousand cows!”
Dinka John looked shocked and horrified. “But…she is only one person!”
Although I knew that the negotiation happening in front of me wasn’t entirely serious (although I’m sure John would have gladly taken me as wife number three), it brought up an interesting point: What am I worth, anyway?
Well, if I were appraised solely based on cattle, I now know my value lies somewhere between twenty and twenty thousand. But on a more abstract level, what is a person worth? Some would say that you can’t put a value on human life.
However, I know Someone who did put a value on my life, and on yours. The price paid by God for my life was the life of His son, Jesus. That is a bride price that even the richest Dinka couldn’t pay.
I listened with amusement as Marsha pitched my many stellar qualities to Dinka John, justifying my high price. Because I knew that my bride price had already been paid by Christ, and I could rest in that knowledge.
*(This is not Dinka John in the photo, although the man shown is Dinka, posing in front of his cattle.)