A number of years ago I was engaged in cattle-ranching on the great plains of the western United States. There were no fences. The cattle wandered free, the ownership of each being determined by the brand; the calves were branded with the brand of the cows they followed. If on the round-up an animal was passed by, the following year it would appear as an unbranded yearling, and was then called a maverick. By the custom of the country these mavericks were branded with the brand of the man on whose range they were found. One day I was riding the range with a newly hired cowboy, and we came upon a maverick. We roped and threw it; then we built a little fire, took out a cinch-ring, heated it at the fire; and the cowboy started to put on the brand. I said to him, “It is So-and-so’s brand,” naming the man on whose range we happened to be. He answered: “That’s all right, boss; I know my business.” In another moment I said to him: “Hold on, you are putting on my brand!” To which he answered: “That’s all right; I always put on the boss’s brand.” I answered: “Oh, very well. Now you go straight back to the ranch and get what is owing to you; I don’t need you any longer.” He jumped up and said: “Why, what’s the matter? I was putting on your brand.” And I answered: “Yes, my friend, and if you will steal for me you will steal from me.”

Citizenship in a Republic, 1910
By Theodore Roosevelt

Something that I think it rather important to take from this story other than the lesson as to not steal from or for Teddy Roosevelt is that we often have a big integrity problem.

There comes a moment when as a Christian it is important for us to start being who we claim we are. I believe that this crossroads appears periodically in life but it is important to choose a lane once and for all.

I believe that this is a central issue facing the north American Church because it is the central issue facing every single person. Are you who you claim to be consistently? This is one of the biggest struggles that I have had and one that I have been facing head on in the past couple of years.

I believe God calls us to make a choice. Jesus did not leave us with a way to put off deciding who we would follow and who would be our God. Choose this day who your God will be and know that the choice was really yours.


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