--2 Corinthians 1:22 (NKJV)
"Head 'em up--move 'em out!"
Some of you may recall that bellowing yell from Gil Favor, the trail boss on "Rawhide." Get the cattle moving up the trail. The only way you get paid is to get them to market, and in good condition. There are all kinds of troubles, trials, and obstacles along the trail. Most trail drives involved the herds of several ranchers combined into one. The trail boss had the numbers at the beginning of the drive, and the payment would come at the end of the drive.
Draw your attention to Matthew 13:24-30:
24 -- "...The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field;
25 -- but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.
26 -- But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared
30 -- 'Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn."'" (NKJV)
I left out a few verses, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't read them. The cattlemen of the West used brands to mark their cattle and then after the roundup several ranchers would have their cattle placed into one herd for the drive. At the end of the drive the ranchers' cattle would be separated and then they were paid for their brand. The cattle would not be separated until market.
Sometimes scoundrels would appear wanting to "cut the herd" saying that some of their cattle had gotten mixed up with the herd. It was up to the trail boss to see that this didn't happen, and that unscrupulous men didn't cut the herd taking what was not theirs.
A second problem regarding the tares and the good grain. The enemy will plant people among believers to cause them to stumble, to falter, and to fail. Sometimes it is hard to tell who they are and sometimes they may even portray themselves as believers. Hold on! Let the Owner, the Master take care of the business at the harvest, or at the final gathering to check the harvest or the brands. He knows what is His. He has His marked with His seal/brand.
Paul writes in Ephesians,
"In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise." (1:13, NKJV)
"...you were sealed for the day of redemption" (4:30, NKJV)
It was custom in ancient days for the owner to mark his goods with a seal, or a brand. Say, for example, if he were purchasing lumber he would mark the lumber that was his. After he returned home he would send his workers to bring the lumber he had chosen to the work site. They knew what was his by the seal.
The Holy Spirit has sealed us. We are marked by the brand of the Lord. No one is allowed to cut us away from the "herd." We are not to be uprooted with the tares, but we will be cared for at the harvest. The Holy Spirit knows us by the seal He has placed upon us. We are His, to take care of and bring us to the gathering of believers on that glorious day.
Therefore, don't let disgruntled people sway you. Don't let anyone try and cut you away, deceiving you. You have God's seal upon you. You are His--never let that leave your mind in days of trials and troubles.