Pastor in the Pasture by Wendell Elliot: A brand that lasts
There are brands that last over the years. Outfits that have been in the family for generations. Some of those are getting harder and harder to find. You know some of the famous ranches in your part of the country. Those are the ones that were homesteaded the day after Noah stepped off the ark, it seems like. You can ask the “old timers” around the area and they can tell you when they worked for that outfit. They’ll tell you who was wagon boss when they were just buttons. Those ranches have brands that have outlasted World Wars, The Great Depression, and even the dreaded droughts. Those brands have seen numerous cowboys come and go. They’ve seen generations of family members come and go. Those brands have seen thousands of cattle and many a remuda under their identifying sign.
You may have a family brand and it may have been around for many years. It’s a symbol of pride, a lasting indicator and mark on your region of the state or country. You know its history. You know the hardships it’s withstood. You and your family’s blood, sweat, and tears have been heavily invested. It has a reputation of good livestock, honest owners, and an outfit where good hands want to work.
Sometimes we don’t remember that Jesus has brands, if you will. Jesus was hung on a cross with nails through His hands and feet. Those nails left marks or scars from the sacrifice that was provided. He has those marks that brand Him with the price He paid for you and me. Jesus said to His disciples after His resurrection, “’Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.’ When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.” (Luke 24:39-40 NIV)
In a similar fashion we as believers have a mark, a brand if you will. In Ephesians it says, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14 NIV) The phrase, “marked in him with a seal” means just that, marked as a sign of ownership. We are His possession. Think about that. It makes a feller or gal feel pretty good and secure. A good brand keeps cattle rustlers away. His promised Holy Spirit marks you and me as His. That type of ownership is something we are familiar with in our western way of life. I hope that you have that brand of the Holy Spirit on and in your life.
That’s definitely a brand that lasts.
Well the irons are hot and the flankin’ crew is ready. I’ll see ya’ll out in the pasture!
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the Oct. 16, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News