The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 11/17

Posted on | November 17, 2015 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 11/17

Scripture reading: Ezekiel 16:1–14

Johnny Lingo’s Eight-Cow Wife

You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (I Corinthians 6:19–20)


I first read the story of Johnny Lingo, told and retold in various forms over the years, in the February, 1988, edition of Readers Digest. I have taken the liberty to adapt and edit the story in a way that makes it possible to share with you. I pray that it will remind you how valuable you really are. Your worth can be measured by the price that God was willing to pay!


 No one understood why a smart businessman like Johnny Lingo would pay eight cows for a wife! On Kiniwata Island in the South Pacific, one could expect to get a decent wife for two or three cows, and a dowry of four or five would land a man the prettiest woman on the island. But eight cows? For homely Sarita? Skinny with hunched shoulders and a downcast look, she was scared of her own shadow. Johnny Lingo had surely been snookered on this deal.

A visitor to the islands became so intrigued with the story that he decided to check out the facts for himself. Taking a boat to the island where the newlyweds lived, he looked up Johnny Lingo and his eight-cow wife. Sitting in the couple’s home, Johnny said to his guest: “You come here from Kiniwata. Do they speak of me there? What do they say?” “They say that you are intelligent and resourceful, the sharpest trader in the islands,” said the visitor.

“My wife is from Kiniwata, you know. What do they say about Sarita?” “They say that five months ago you paid eight cows for her,” the guest replied. Johnny’s chest expanded in satisfaction as he said, “Always and forever, when they speak of marriage settlements, it will be remembered that Johnny Lingo paid eight cows for his wife.”

So that’s the answer, thought the visitor: vanity. At that moment Sarita walked into the room. She was the most beautiful woman the visitor had ever seen! The sparkle in her eyes, the tilt of her chin, and the lift of her shoulders all radiated a confident inner beauty that graced everything she did. “Who is this?” asked the guest. “This can’t be Sarita from Kiniwata.” “There’s only one Sarita,” Johnny said forcefully. “Perhaps she doesn’t look the way you expected.”

Johnny Lingo was now beaming. “Sarita is the only woman I’ve ever loved. Think how she would feel if I had paid bottom dollar to get her. I would not let that happen to the woman I love. In Kiniwata, Sarita believed she was worth nothing. But here, she knows she is worth more than any other woman on the island. It shows, doesn’t it?”

“Then you wanted . . .” the visitor began. But Johnny Lingo interrupted: “I wanted an eight-cow wife.”


Love, in its own nature, demands the perfecting of the beloved. —C. S. Lewis


point to ponder Are you loved because you are beautiful or are you beau- tiful because you are loved?

prayer focus That God would use you to make someone, who currently feels unloved and ugly, realize that he/she is beautiful.


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