Last week at church, the pastor said that witnessing is the "trademark of the Christian." 

Naturally, I thought of cows.

Cattle are branded physically for the same reason products and creative works are trademarked or copyrighted: To identify whose they are.

Rancho Largo’s cow, Kodak film, Xerox copiers, a Monet painting, a Karen Kingsbury novel. Kings used to have a special seal to prove that a particular message was authentically from the king, and to use the king’s seal was to speak as the king. The message was branded as the king’s.

Ownership is a big deal. The king’s people knew which messages to pay attention to, and which were not authentic. When you’re shopping you know which brands to avoid. [Free advice: Never, never buy generic sauerkraut. I speak from experience.] Companies and creators go to great lengths to protect their trademarks and copyrights. Paintings have full-fledged provenance documents proving who created the painting, and the string of ownership of the painting. Purebred horses and dogs have pedigree records. 
In fact, we each have a brand of ownership on our life, whether we admit it or not. That brand can be Jesus, or it can be something much weaker, generic: Self, Success, The World, Money…

Romans 4 tells us that in the Old Testament, circumcision was the seal of God’s ownership over a person, though Paul also says that was merely a symbol of true circumcision, which was "of the heart."

But now? "Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (NIV)

Ephesians 1:13 says, "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having 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."  (NIV) So, now the Holy Spirit is the seal of Christ on the life of a Christian, proving he or she is God’s possession.

Whose brand is on your life? Your true Creator and Owner, or a generic substitute? Start with John 3 if you want to trade in a generic brand for the Real Thing.

If you are a Christian, can those around you see Jesus’ brand on your life? If not, it might be time to do some sharing.