…which end will you lift on?

Archive for the month “January, 2012”


“I want to marry this one.”

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.)



In my previous blog, I discussed half of my theme for 2012. The other half is the following scripture portion that has been tugging at my heart lately.

Second Corinthians 5:11-21 is all about “the ministry of reconciliation.” Verses 18-20 explain a Christian’s role in the gospel message:

18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

I love the last four words: Be reconciled to God! Although Paul doesn’t put an exclamation point there, I feel like this phrase warrants one.

God has “committed to us the message of reconciliation.” That’s our task; we have been commissioned, like soldiers going to war. Our commission is not one of marching around, telling people what to do and what not to do. We’re not the morality police. Our commission is simply to bear the message of reconciliation to anyone who is not currently abiding with God. Simply put, God wants all his children to come back to Him.

I sense very strongly that this should be a priority for all Christ followers this year. You don’t need to be a missionary to bear the message of reconciliation. If you haven’t noticed, this earth is falling apart. God is waiting for us to finish the task before putting an end to this whole thing. Remember, “[The Lord] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish,but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

While God is patiently waiting, the earth is groaning, and we are…doing what? Let’s make the “ministry of reconciliation” top priority this year. And if you need to be reconciled to God yourself, please email me and let’s get this thing figured out.





If you have been reading my blog for the past year, you know that I don’t do resolutions per se. Hey, if I’m going to start flossing more regularly, I can start that on any old day. Those who need to catch up with my “no-resolution” resolution can read about it here.

This year, I’m a bit torn. I can’t decide between two themes, so I just might go with both. One is a scripture and one is a motto, so I think it’s allowable (by whom, I’m not sure, but it feels okay). I’ll talk about this year’s scripture in my next blog.

My sister recently loaned me her copy of a book called Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World. This little gem is a collection of essays that are direct and convicting. Every single Christian should read this book. I don’t say this about just any book; trust me.

In one essay, Craig Cabaniss discusses the Latin phrase Coram Deo. It means “before the face of God.” These two words carry huge weight. They remind us that whatever we do is lived out in front of God. Gives you something to think about, doesn’t it?

Like Cabaniss points out, “We make our choices–all our choices–with God’s holy face in view.” If we reminded ourselves that God is watching everything with interest, how would our lives look?

So this year, it’s Coram Deo for me. Wish me luck.

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