Ridin’ for the Brand

If you ask someone to explain it, you’ll get as many answers as the people you ask. I suspect few of you have ever heard this phrase; it’s one I hold very dear. We are nearing weaning time for the first calves bred, born, and raised here on the Cross-Dubya ranch; and for me (its caretaker), that’s a special blessing. With our own sire, healthy dams, and lots of love and care, the commercial cattle we produce exemplify our brand. So much so, this is the first year I’ll be freeze branding the calves.

Here in cattle country, a brand means something. More than identification or a marketing tactic, a man’s brand denotes what he stands for. Each man’s brand is unique. Here at the Cross-Dubya and in my Christian writing, it means that we put Jesus Christ first in everything we do. That means the way we seek to honor God, the way we treat folks, and the way we honestly deal with them.

From a marketing perspective, a company’s brand brings recognition to the product they make or service they provide. Some of the best-known brands in the world are the Nike swoosh, the golden arches of McDonald’s, and the expressive cursive of Coca-Cola. You see the brand, and your brain conjures up words and images that you link with that brand. When people see our Cross-Dubya brand, Ms. Diane and I pray they think of words like honesty, integrity, quality, truth, love, caring, and friendship.

A few years ago, I came across a poem written by Mr. Red Steagall. Some know him as a prolific songwriter, author, and entertainer. Others know him as a champion of all things western heritage. I’ve never had the honor of meeting him, but when I think of Mr. Stegall the words Christian, American, cowboy, and integrity come to mind. Someday perhaps, be it in God’s will, I can add the word friend to that list. His poem, entitled Ride for the Brand, stirred up many thoughts within me. Chief among them was how “the brand” is about much more than what I represent, but who.

In the words of this poem, I came to understand how my personal and professional life reflects upon my brand. My words and actions not only reflect upon me, but my family, employer, and whom I have sworn allegiance to. Like a family’s coat of arms or crest, my brand reflects upon my adopted mom and dad, who sacrificed to give their children the very best opportunities they could provide. My brand reflects the values and sense of morality my parents instilled in me. Most of all, I pray it reflects my Savior; for whom I ride these days.

Whose brand are you riding for? Share on X

Have you considered how your words and actions reflect upon others? I wonder if those rioting, looting, and destroying of late have considered how they represent their family, community, nation, and themselves.

As a Christian, one particular verse has been both condemning and convicting for me these past few months. Second Corinthians 5:20 (NKJV) reads “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” If I represent God in this world, then what I say and do in every moment of every day will impact His kingdom and His gospel message. I’ve hit my knees several times to ask forgiveness for how I’ve ridden for His brand in things I’ve said and done in this old life.

The way we ride for our brand tells the world a great deal; not only about ourselves, but whom and what we represent. After hearing Mr. Steagall’s poem, I thought how God led me to design the Cross-Dubya brand; and how it represents so much more than this little ranch in northeast Texas. Throughout this week, I pray you’ll consider what your brand says about you and everyone it represents.

God’s blessings,

I invite you to listen to Mr. Red Steagall, the Official Cowboy Poet of Texas, recite his poem Ride for the Brand here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAa9MQAVMdU

47 thoughts on “Ridin’ for the Brand”

    1. Absolutely Ms. Martha. I wish I were a better ambassador for Christ than I am, but I suspect many of us share that same goal. That’s what the process of sanctification is all about isn’t it ma’am? God’s blessings.

  1. “Branding” is such a buzz word these days. Especially online. But for the believer, it’s so important to realize what we do and say both online and off, in our personal daily lives, represents Jesus. What kind of ambassador am I? That’s the question of the day. Thanks for this great reminder!

  2. This is so critical all the time, but especially in the day in which we find ourselves. That one line says it all for me: Chief among them was how “the brand” is about much more than what I represent, but Who. May the Holy Spirit keep this fresh in our hearts and minds.

    1. Amen Ms. Ann. Too often, I find myself thinking “worldly” thoughts. I praise God that His Holy Spirit keeps me from acting upon all of them. I’m trying to become a better listener though. 🙂 God’s blessings ma’am.

    1. Thank you Mr. Monty. Like you and your blog posts sir, I pray that mine will also help folks to stop and thing about how they might apply a concept or idea to their life. God’s blessings sir.

  3. When Christ rose from the dead, he carried the “brand” of His love for us by the scars on His hands and feet. He both lived and died demonstrating His great love for us. What an example He has provided! While we do not have to physically die to prove our love for Him or others, we are called to “die to self” and put the needs of others before our own. Does our “brand” show that sacrificial love for others? I hope and pray that my brand can show and live that love. Thanks for your powerful message that challenges us all.

    1. OMGoodness Ms. Katherine. You must be a writer ma’am! What a beautiful description of what it is to “Ride for the Brand.” Thank you so much for your contribution to our conversation my friend. God’s blessings. 😀

    1. Ever grateful Ms. Stephanie. Thank you so much for your comments ma’am. I’m so pleased it stirred your mind and soul my friend. I pray it has that effect on many readers. Becoming mindful of who we “ride for” is a step in the right direction. I’m finding that remembering that I too am a “Jesus Lover” and “Follower” helps me to exercise self-control more over my carnal mind and tongue.

  4. When I see the Cross-Dubya I have thoughts and feelings of deep faith, honesty, generosity, encouragement, humility, and on and on I could go. I definitely know that Jesus Christ is the center and #1 priority. Thank you for Riding for the Brand. You do it well. If I am 1/2 the ambassador for Christ that you are I’m doing well.

    1. Ms. Cathy, know that I am learning to ride for Christ by watching you and others ma’am. Thank you for being an example for your family, community, and world can look upon see God’s love and Christ’s character in this world. God’s blessings ma’am.

  5. Jeannie Waters

    I love the idea of riding for the brand, J. D. Thank you for leading us to consider how we represent Jesus in all we do.

    1. Awww shucks Ms. Jeannie. You’ve done it since I first met you ma’am; and you ride for God’s brand very well ma’am. What a blessing it is to come alongside you on this “drive” to win souls for Christ. Whether you know it or not, you’ve been one of God’s drovers for many years my friend. Not just through your teaching and writing, but in the way you have lived out your faith for the world around you to see.

  6. When I used to hear people talk about Jesus Christ being a Shepherd, I thought of His followers as complacent sheep with no independent will or ideas. Now I understand that the brand/His shepherding, is about trusting Him to be the leader. (I’ve also heard that sheep, the actual animals, are more intelligent than many people think.)

    1. I don’t have a lot of experience with sheep Ms. Robin, but from all my observations I would agree ma’am. While us sheep may be docile and dependent upon our Shepherd, it takes a certain amount of “smarts” to know to stick together (strength in numbers), benefits in compliance (we don’t get our legs broke), and trust in our Shepherd (He leadeth me…). Yes, Christian sheep are independent thinkers, but when we use our intelligence to work out our faith, we become more effective witnesses for Christ I think. Great thoughts ma’am. Thank you as always for adding to our conversation. God’s blessings young lady.

    1. Amen; and thank you Ms. Connie. May I join you in that very prayer ma’am? I pray that God’s brand remains visible in our lives. In Mr. Stegall’s poem, I loved the opening part where he states “This is mine. Leave it alone!” I like to think that’s what God says whenever we cry out to Him in prayer during a temptation. God shouts out to Satan “Leave them alone, they’re a wearin’ my brand. They’re mine.” 🙂

  7. Creative and clever illustration. Like your cattle are branded to show where they come from, we should exemplify the brand of Jesus we wear as believers. Thank you for this reminder!
    “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
    ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

  8. I may not ride but I play, I sing, I support, I write, and I read for my Ewe R Blessed brand. Why? Because I am so blessed by the same Cross Dubya God you ride for. Beautiful words.

    1. And what a job you do representing Christ’s brand my sweet friend. Am right proud to be ridin’ with y’all. 🙂 Then again, I’ve seen you ride; and you sit a right pretty saddle ma’am.

  9. J.D., your posts never fail to paint a beautiful, tranquil picture and also to convict me a little bit. That verse you quoted from 2 Corinthians 5:20, yeah, that is sobering, a constant challenge, a tremendous privilege, a source of blessing. Your blog is a blessing too, J.D. Many thanks, Sir!

    1. Tis’ I that thank you Ms. Norma Gail. So very glad you read, shared, and commented ma’am. Much appreciated. Just subscribed to your blog also. God’s blessings.

    1. Ms. Tammy, I can only speak for myself ma’am, but I thank God for wonderful young people like you who represent God to generations of folks this old fuddy duddy will probably never reach. When I read your thoughts and words, I see God’s light shining brightly through your life young lady. Thank you for sharing His light with so many ma’am.

  10. I think during these times especially, we need to remember that we ride for Jesus, not ourselves. Thanks for the reminder, JD. I pray when people think of me, they think of Jesus.

    1. Amen. Very well said Ms. Josie. All Christians need to remind ourselves that what we say and do reflects upon our Lord and Savior. I’m as guilty as anyone some days. Thank you for adding such an important point to our conversation ma’am. None of us are perfect, but we can all strive to be just a little bit better with each passing day. God’s blessings young lady.

  11. Loved this, J.D. “If I represent God in this world, then what I say and do in every moment of every day will impact His kingdom and His gospel message.” My prayer is that my impact in this world honors Him.

    1. Yes ma’am. As your dear husband says in his book “My Footprint for God”, the greatest thing we can leave behind for this world is a legacy of faithfulness, caring, dedication, and love. I for one am grateful for the wonderful legacy I see you and Mr. Kenn leaving. God’s blessings ma’am.

  12. Pingback: An Inside Job - J.D. Wininger, Christian Author

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