The Eight Cow Bride

The story is told of a Pacific Island village that had the custom of requiring a dowry from young men who asked for a young woman’s hand in marriage. Two or three cows was the customary price paid to a potential bride’s family. Four or five cows if the woman was in high demand.

One young woman was expected to never marry. She was scrawny and homely, her hair was unkempt, her eyes were always downcast, and she was timid and awkward. No suitor had ever approached her father offering even one cow as a dowry, so the entire village was abuzz with gossip when news got out that someone had offered eight cows for her. It was an unheard-of price, and for such a plain woman! Nobody could fathom what the young man had seen in her, or what had prompted him to offer such a large bride price.

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After the wedding, the young man took his bride to live on another island.

A few months later, a visitor from her village came to the young couple’s home. He was received warmly, but was startled at the appearance of the most beautiful, confident woman he had ever seen. Assuming she was a servant, and thinking that the homely young bride must feel terribly insecure in her presence, he asked the young man about her. With a smile of pride, he answered “That’s my wife.”.

The villager asked what had happened to transform her from such a homely girl into the queenly woman he now saw. 

The husband answered “Have you ever thought what it does to a woman to know that her husband bartered with her father to pay the lowest price possible for her?  I wanted my wife to be able to hold her head high and know that she was worth more than any other woman on the islands. I wanted an eight-cow wife.”.

For those of us who know Jesus, and believe that He paid the ultimate price to buy us back from the brink of spiritual destruction, that knowledge should transform us. It should cause us to stand tall, strong and proud in the confidence that comes from being sought after and purchased at such a high price. We are the Bride of Christ, and we are priceless to Him. Let that truth fill you with the calm power that enables you to represent Him well in all that you do.

“You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.” 1 Corinthians 7:23 NASB

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