The Hired Hand
29 August 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: John 10:11-13 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. 12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep. (John 10:11-13 NLT)
The Shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. The Shepherd isn’t an employee of Sheep, Inc. The shepherd is invested in the well-being of the sheep and is willing to sacrifice, go beyond the “call of duty” to care for the sheep and will put himself in harm’s way to protect them. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t care about the sheep. He has no sense of ownership or personal responsibility for the sheep.
Here are some things about Shepherding God’s Flock. (These things also apply to a person in their employment or career, in running a business, in leading and managing.) But they have special application to Shepherding God’s Flock:
• It’s a calling, not a job. It’s a vocation, not a career. I realize that churches hire ministers to lead in a variety of ways in a complex church organization. There are departments like Children’s Ministry, Discipleship, Youth Ministry, Music and Worship, Teaching, Outreach, Administration—a whole range of specialized tasks and responsibilities for ministers. But it’s a calling and not just a number of hours to put in to do a set of tasks. It’s a vocation (pretty much same as calling) that originates in God and not merely in ambition or opportunity.
• There’s a fine line between filling a staff position or leadership role in a church and answering to your boss or to the church board, and being on a mission from God and answering to God himself. Of course there are salaries, and job descriptions, and vacations, and unexpected challenges. But the God-called shepherd doesn’t clock out at 5 PM and go home and put his or her feet up.
• It’s a fine line between being employed by a church to lead a department or to be a pastor or church executive, and being called and sent by God to serve and lead his flock. I know there’s not an exact correlation between the shepherd/hired hand metaphor and the calling/church job situation. But it’s close!
Father, Please give us Good Shepherds for the flock and not merely employees to fill the positions and get the tasks done. Elevate our awareness! Please!