Wearing His Brand
Theme: We belong to God and He has put His seal of ownership on us.
Objects: A branding iron or some sample brands written on cards. (you can find examples on the web or make up some of your own such as "Diamond M," "Lazy S," or "Rocking R.")
Scripture: "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, `Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' Luke 15:4-6
If a rancher had a hundred calves and one of them got lost, do you think he would go looking for him? Of course he would. Every single one of his calves is important to him. In the early days, ranches didn't have fences to keep the cattle from wandering off and they often got lost. That is why the rancher put his brand on every one of his calves. Most of you have seen a branding iron, haven't you? The rancher puts the branding iron into a fire and when it is red hot, he burns his brand into the calf. Then, if the calf gets lost, the rancher can go looking for him and he can easily identify his calf. The brand usually represents the name of the ranch. I have some examples of some brands this morning. See if you can look at these brands and guess what the name of the ranch might be. (Show them some cards on which you have drawn the sample brands and let them try to guess what ranch they represent.) You all did very well, so you can see that it is easy for a rancher to look at a stray or stolen calf and know if that calf belongs to him.
Do you think God worries about one of His children when they stray away? Yes, He does! The Bible tells us that if one of God's children strays, He will search for him until He finds him and brings him back home. And when He does, the Bible says that there is great rejoicing in heaven. The Bible even tells us that God puts His brand on his children. It says that God has "put his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts." (2 Corinthians 1:22) I am God's child because I have put my faith and trust in Jesus. I may stray away at times, but I have His brand on me and I belong to Him. When I stray, he always finds me and brings me back home again. If you belong to Him, He will do the same for you.
Heavenly Father, I am thankful that I belong to you and that you have put your brand upon my heart. Seek me when I stray, and bring me back to you.
© 1999-2000 by Charles Kirkpatrick