The Shepherd vs. The Hired Hand
“He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:12-15)
So often I only notice one enemy in John 10: the “thief” (Satan) who comes only to steal and kill and destroy. But Jesus mentions a second enemy, who is equally dangerous in his own right: the hired hand, the one who is in charge of keeping the sheep but doesn’t really care about them.
In a certain sense, the hired hand poses a larger threat to the flock than the thief. You know at first glance what the thief intends, and you do everything you can do avoid him. But the hired hand looks like he is trustworthy & looks like he would protect you. But in fact, he is only interested in a job, and will flee at the first real sign of trouble. Or probably flee if a better job comes along.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd, because He knows that this flock belongs to Him, and He will stay with the flock no matter the cost - even if it costs Him His own life.
If I take seriously the calling that God has on my life to be a shepherd to our people, I have to count the costs and know that my calling is to lead my sheep well and lay down my life for them if need be. We all know “ministers”…