Friday, April 19, 2013

Jesus and the Blue-Ribbon Cow

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was (and still is) a very special place called Camp Agaiutim Nune (Camp A.N. for short). “Agaiutim Nune” means “the place of God” in the Native Alaskan Yupik dialect. Every summer, scores of Yupik children pile into boats and travel up and down the tributaries of the Yukon River Delta to come to Camp A.N. and hear about a God that loves them, and doesn’t want them to be afraid, and wants them to live free lives and not be slaves to fear, abuse, alcoholism, depression or any other slave-owner.

Now, these kids spend a week at a time at Camp A.N. and they need to eat. They are meat-eaters. Their people have eaten what they can pull from the river and hunt on the land at least since their ancestors crossed the land-bridge from Asia. The source for the camp’s groceries for the past many years recently became unavailable. So the camp director sat down and asked God – that same God who loves these kids so much He wants to set them free – to give them some meat. About an hour later, the phone rang. A man wanted to give the camp several hundred pounds of beef from his prize-winning, grand champion cow.

I just heard this story recently and I love it. That camp director is my dad. That God who loves those village kids so much that He gave them the blue-ribbon cow is my God. Those kids are the children of the kids I grew up with in the villages of Western Alaska. I love this story for more reasons than you could shake a stick at. But most and best, I love that mine is a God who draws us with His goodness and His kindness. He isn’t trying to scare and control. The Bible says, “O taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! (Psalm 34:8)”.

God isn’t one to skimp and He isn’t stingy. He always goes above-and-beyond. There is another "taste-and-see" story, found in John’s Gospel (the beginning of chapter two). It’s the famous story of the time Jesus turned the huge jug of hand-washing water into the shockingly-fine wine and saved the happy couple and their families from the embarrassment of running out of wine before the celebration was over. It wasn’t a “make-do” miracle. Jesus was extravagant. His gift to the bride and groom was the finest quality. That is just the kind of God He is: generous, extravagant, outrageously good.

He is the best, and He gives the best.
Wedding guests get the good grapes.
Village kids get the blue-ribbon beef.
Mankind gets a do-over and whoever embraces Jesus gets to stand in the presence of the God-Who-Made-Everything forever and ever and tremble at His beauty, His goodness and His holiness, but never in guilt and terror.

Taste, see, take refuge, be blessed.

Ambushed by God and filling up on His goodness,

Yes, they're tomatoes, and tomatoes really have nothing to do with this story, but they're such pretty tomatoes! And if you could taste them, you would see that God is good! Haha!



  1. This is so wonderful. So Him! kl

  2. Excellent! Love the analogy! God truly desires the best for us!! Love the tomato!!