Our Lord Jesus Christ did not mince words when He clearly stated that there would be three types of leaders and workers in His church.  He referred to some as shepherds, some as wolves and some as hirelings. 

The Hireling

A hireling as the name implies is one hired to take care of or look after the sheep for a pay. His care for the sheep is not whole hearted because he doesn’t own the sheep.  He is not motivated by love, servant-hood or self- sacrifice.  He works for his own benefit. He will only look after the sheep as long as he gets paid.

A hireling mistreats the sheep: deprives of adequate food and water (sound biblical doctrine).

He ignores or abandons the wounded, weak, and Sickly (Matthew 24:49, Ezekiel 34:2-6). 

He is there for his own belly, for what he can get – reputation, prestige, fame.

He monetizes the gospel thinking it’s a means for monetary gain (Phil. 3:18-19).

He flees in times of advancing danger.

“But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep” (John 10:12-13NKJV).

The Wolf

A wolf is a highly intelligent animal, and an accomplished hunter.  It is always stalking, hovering, lurking and prying around for a kill.  It harrasses and scatters the sheep in its bid to lay hold on one for food (Ezekiel. 22:27).  It will lurk around for as long as necessary for a kill.  It loves the sheep only for its belly. 

Ministerial wolves are performance driven; they function well in leadership or managerial role because of their high intelligence.  They lead the sheep astray deceitfully (Jer.50:6).   They are obsessed with power, money, reputation and fame, their god is their belly (Phil. 3:18-19).  They are good at twisting the scriptures to suit themselves (2 Pet.3:16).  Their speech is as smooth as butter (Roman16:17-18). They are over-bearing and lord over the flock like a CEO.  They know little to nothing about servant-hood.

A wolf shouldn’t even in anyway be close to the sheep.  It’s so easy to spot and differentiate a wolf from a sheep.  How can a wolf mix with the sheep unnoticed?  Our Lord says this is possible because the wolf will come disguised as sheep.  He called them “Wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Matthew 7:15, 2 Cor. 11:13-15).  So when a sheep sees such the sheep will not know it’s a ravenous wolf full of all sorts of deceits and evil because it looks harmless on the outside.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit” (Matt 7:15-18 NKJV).

“For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29-30 NKJV)

The true Shepherd

A true Shepherd loves the sheep dearly, binds its wounds so it can heal, feeds and provides water, seeks for the straying and brings it back into the fold, tends the sick sheep, protects them from dangerous animals and elemental danger.

He will give his life for the sheep (John 10:11; Jeremiah 3:15).

He doesn’t lord over the sheep (1Pet.5:3; Matt.20:25 – 26,).

He doesn’t drive but leads the sheep (John 10:4).

 He is always kind and gentle with them and not overbearing (1 Tim. 3:3; Titus 1:7).

He is always protective of the sheep, protecting them from false doctrines, teachers and dangers, and always looking out for their good and well-being.

Besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.  Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?“( 2 Cor. 11: 28 – 29).

He knows he is a servant called by Christ to serve (Matthew 20: 27-28).

He is not a lover of money, nor a greedy person (1Tim.3:2-3; 2Pet.2:3).

He is not after fame, reputation or money; he doesn’t care for the praise nor applause of men. 

He remembers always that he is an umdersheperd under the Great Shepherd whom he must give an account to one day for his stewardship; he therefore follows in the footsteps of His Master – Jesus, the Good, Great and True Shepherd.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.  …. I know My sheep, and am known by My own.  As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep” (John 10:11-15 NKJV). 

Which One Are You?

Minister of the gospel, which one are you? Many may not know your true identity.  But you know who you are.  And God knows you by name.  One day you are going to stand before the Great and True Shepherd of the sheep to give an account of your stewardship. You will face the One whose eyes are as fiery flames of fire.  There will be no lawyer to plead your case.  What you do now will be the evidence either for you or against you before an all knowing and just God.

Are you mistreating your fellow servants?  Are you in ministry for personal and financial gains?  Do you pervert justice, show favouritism / partiality?  Are you feeding the flock of God healthy or junk foods (trending doctrines)?  Giving them their food in due season? Are you harassing the flock of God, lording yourself over them, and driving them.  Are you putting on them unnecessary financial pressures because you want a big auditorium or a mega church?  Are you using the ministry’s offerings faithfully?

Examine and judge yourself.  Have a sober reflection.  Enter into the inner chamber and seek the Lord’s face.  Judge yourself so you will not be judged.

“But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.  And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—  just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matt 20:25-28 NKJV).

God’s judgement on the(false shepherds) hirelings and wolves

2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?

3 “You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock.

4 “The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them.

7 ‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:

8 “as I live,” says the Lord GOD, “surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock” –

9 ‘therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD!

10 ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.”(Ezekiel 34: 2-10).

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