The Hired Hand

For the past several months, we have been journeying through the gospel of John during our youth group bible study on Wednesday nights. This past week, we walked through John 10 as we listened to Jesus tell about being a good shepherd, a gate, a door, and other pictures of following and entering.

We learned that there are two voices in this story, and we will follow one or the other. There’s the voice of the Good Shepherd, Jesus, who leads us out to good pasture, still water, and sometimes (as Psalm 23 says) a valley of the shadow of death!

20120811-073527.jpgThe assuring part is that He is leading us through it, which tells me He is going before us…out in front…the most vulnerable position…sure to encounter any danger that is present.

The other voice is one of a thief who takes from us, kills us, and destroys us. Hardly the preferred shepherd, but sheep fall somewhere toward the bottom of the intelligent list so we sometimes get our shepherd’s mixed up!

As a leader/shepherd of people, John 10 has spoken volumes to me. It’s obvious that I would desire to be a good shepherd and not a thief who destroys people, BUT today, I’m seeing a third person in this story of whom I feel deserves some attention. This person isn’t a voice necessarily, but is part of the story of shepherding and caring.

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.
~John 10:12-13

The hired hand can be easily mistaken for the shepherd. He sits at the gate, guarding the sheep while the shepherds rest for the night. However, unlike the shepherd, he ‘cares nothing for the sheep’. When times get tough, he’s out of there. He leaves the sheep in great danger.

I’m so grateful for a Good Shepherd during the times I play the part of the calloused hired hand. When I fail at caring and protecting, Jesus reminds me in verses 27 and 28,

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

Regardless of how you’re being led, if you hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, follow Him! He will give you life more than you can imagine, life without the brake pedal.

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