– December 1, 2020 –
“Ride for the brand” was written by Cowboy poet, Red Steagall. Madison Avenue made it famous.
When a cowboy rides for the brand, it means that he has signed on to the mission, goals and aims of the ranch owner. He is a committed and dedicated team player. Stegall said that the cowboy gave his promise to protect the brand as though it were his own.
The early church “rode for the brand.” That brand was developed, in no small part, from the audacious claims of the first verse of John’s Gospel.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
There was a boldness and audacity to the statements John made. The audacious claims became the Core Values of the early church, setting the direction and motivation for their work and behavior. The early church was committed to the “Brand.”
God’s partnership with the Word was not just cowboy close, but more connected and committed. He was not just a cowboy for hire. The phrase used to describe this relationship is “with God”, “pros ton theon” in the Greek. The common Greek word for “with” in the New Testament is “syn” or “meta.”
Here John uses the more intimate preposition of “pros,” which reflects an active, moving “with.” The Prodigal Son of Luke 15 arose and went “pros” (home) and arose and went “pros” to his father. One translation of John 1:1 says, “The Word was face to face with God.”
It is a challenge to translate “with” to English. It is also difficult to actually live out this kind of connection in the world today. It is hard to find a partner that is an advocate, present, close fellowship. That person, they are the one that “rides” with you. Jesus was never a “Lone Ranger” or an isolated “It.” He was no silent partner. God and Jesus rode together.
This partnership is key to John’s Gospel. God is about “withness” as much as He is about “witness.” He proved it in Emmanuel (Matt. 1:23), “God with us.” Giddy up.
- Many business people are lone rangers. Going it alone. Jesus, the very Son of God, didn’t go it alone…and He was God in a bod. So who is with you? Who is “pros” you? Those one or two people with whom are you doing life and work? Not just the simple “with,” but rather your partner, advocate in business? The one on this journey with you? Who are you riding with?
- John makes bold statements that drive the early church. What are you saying today that is driving your life, your business, your family, your employees? Are you making some “audacious claims?” What are they? Are they worth fighting over? How are they compelling to you and others?
- What “audacious claims” are unspoken in your head today? Dreams. Things you’ve never said because they just seem too big or even “silly.” That step, in business, that seems too far. That operation you’ve feared starting. How can you take the step today or this week?