The Unpaid… err… Good Shepherd – John 10

You all know my stance on vocational pastors. I’ve written about it over the past 6 years here, herehere, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Not once have I ever noticed what Jesus says about those who shepherd for pay. It wasn’t until a comment I received on my blog last week that left me with my jaw open. It’s amazing how much we can miss when we’re not really looking. This is what Jesus says in John 10:11-15 (my emphasis added):

I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of 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 is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

In case you’re wondering, the word shepherd here is the same word ποιμήν (poimēn) that is used as the word “pastor” in other passages. Now, I am not going to sit here and say that all paid pastors flee when they see the wolf coming. Of course some of them stand fast. But think about your experiences in a modern church setting. How often have you heard of vocational pastors fleeing when trouble starts brewing? In fact, think about all those shepherds you’ve heard of leaving one church because they were hired by another (often times for reasons of pay). I have said it before, and I’ll say it again, ask yourself this question. If you stopped paying the man (who usually claims that YHWH has called him to shepherd), would he stop being your pastor? If so, for better or worse, I do believe he’s one of those hired hands.

I am thankful that the good shepherd never leaves his sheep. That he laid down his life for our sakes. And that we can rely on him when we are often so unreliable.

Comments

  1. That is a pretty powerful statement by Christ.

  2. Scott Mc. says:

    I see your point, however, I have to respectfully disagree with the context. All the pastors I know personally that “Sheppard their flocks” never asked to be paid…the church congregations have voted to pay them. Now, the best literal sheppards will tend their flocks of sheep and risk, even give their lives to insure the flocks survival because the sheppard is teaching them not to go astray by the biblical sound doctrine of eternal life….even for the weakest minded sheep, just as long as the correct path to salvation is followed and accepted and the smallest depends on the heard to teach him to stay because the older sheep already have traveled and know the way, by faith in the sheppard whom has fended off the wolves of Satan ans kept them safe time after time.. Why? It is their livelihood because they ARE his responsibility, therefore, the sheppards sheep…even if, when the time comes, the litreal owner claims them or maybe even denies the sheep born since the last count he took…therfore, they become the sheppards to do as he sees with them.

    When those sheep that he took posession of have been tended, are healthy and are ready, they are sold to their worth by size, coats and gender to the highest bidder. Do you honestly think a sheppard keeps his sheep and watches over them day and night just because of pure enjoyment of having one of possibly the most dangerous, hardest, most demanding and least respected professions? Definitely not. He will profit off the sheep and be donated by his faith the payment of eternal life everlasting in Gods house…what higher pay can one receieve? Earthly pay is multi-teared. Spiritual pay is singular by eternal life.

    Who is the bad shepperd? My opinion is the opposite of good. False sheppards that mislead the flock into danger. Example: There are so-called “men of God” that have never even accepted Christ. I personally know a person like that. He had a great job as a professional sheppard, a job he risked his life for…a policeman. He just decided, one day, stated by him…to become a preacher for the Church of Christ, were only by water submersion, is salvation possible. I blunty asked him, doodah,, have you accepted Jesus into your life as your personal savior? His reply, I don’t have to in order to have salvation…again, I say,”You mean to tell me that the Holy Spirit has never placed conviction in your heart and mind to accept Jesus? “Nope”, he replied “but I can read the bible and thus, I can preach it.” This once called sheppeard to protect and possibly die for strangers has went astray, falsely leading his new sheep to their ultimate slaughter by Satan and will attemtp to flee by giving God excuses when his judgement comes and the bad sheppard that took a congregation…even his paternal father to the same demonic wolves he will attempt to flee from and meet his demise (not for me to say where) by his false teaching, false sense of salvation and benefiting monitarily from it all. I believe this is the “bad sheppard” in the scripture will have not his name in the Lambs Book of Life just because he tended the wrong flock in the wrong manner and his eternal “payment” is forfeit. I believe these sheppards to be the false prophets that when death is imminent, will flee and his own wolves will be his worst enemy…death eternal is…..

    The othet sheppards I know will confess in an instant that they were drawn by the Holy Spirit due to thr sin in their hearts and lives, recognized the drawing and obeyed it and accepted Jesus as their personal savior and then, in accordance, were baptized by submersion as an outward expression of an inward knowledge and public profession to their salvation and after that, they felt the same Holy Spirit leading them to heed their calling to be a sheppard. A GOOD sheppard, willing to go to all means to keep his flock safe…even if means giving his entire life to do so to the point of his own death, as a man, when God calls his name to hear the words,”My good and faithful servant (essentially sheppard) enter into eternal life. Now, what or how is a servant paid (rewarded) for faithfully tending his flock? Is it by means of monitary denominations to ensure his flock was faithfully maintained with pension offered, not asked for, to tend his flock of immediate family that solely depends on him? Is it pension freely given by the larger “flock” congregation for his unwavering devotion to lead them down th true path to righteousness? Perhaps even the remuneration by having a full grown sheep recognize his resolve and follow him out of sheer faith by teachings that decides not to go astray and devote his life as payment for keeping him with the rest of the flock because, in the end, this sheep turns sheppard the same way his mentor did by the same means and this is payment.

    Christ is the “good sheppard” of scripture. He was predestined from the time before time to give His literal life for “His sheep” as we have always belonged to Him. He is also predestined to die, thus, leaving his sheep to be taken by the sheppards he chose to tend his flocks, within these flocks, another obedient to Gods will shall do the same and recieve the same from God. Payment for a job well done…the same way that the majority of shepperds lead their flocks by Biblical doctrine, truth by teaching salvation and prosperity and healthy doctrinal sound foundations to keep the new flocks footing steady, strong and immovable. These are the shepperds that todays flocks, in most cases, hold their total faith in…if these step off the path , lose balance of teaching truth or stumble into the well of doubt at any time…the flock can be coaxed to follow the bad sheppard into the ravine of the lost, the path of indicision and last, the pit of damnation all because the deciever is the bad, intends on walking the dark and desolate path only with a torch of lies to show the way (prosperity docrrine, sugar coated messages to intice the moth pallet and the misdirected eyes to see opposite of what we, as Christians see so clear and defind w ears to hear truth and the gift to discern by Holy Spirit direction to take as many of the liars sheep we can and the spiritual sight to never fall .

    Again, modern shepperds are not asking for remuneration, they are given it by his flock. Modern sheppards do not flee, they provide safehavens from the offerings recieved. Modern sheppards do not expect any more than the flock provides but uses it to secure the flock has thie needs met from the generosity of the flock….

    The only bad shepperds demand payment prior to the flock being instructed where the true grass of biblical food is, the next payment before being led to water and the insecure ranting that no direction is the right one

    Good ane bad shepperds have many faces, words and vocalizations….what sheppard will be trusted remains in how manipulatig the bad sheeps sin affects the heard, as a whole.
    Lets keep the truth alive, as it has been seen, will never stray.

    Lets keep the good sheep that can use monitary avenues of Christian truth open by the proper principles of the only way for eternak lfie, blessing abounding and salvation by way od holy ghost cinvicton, acting in it andnlivig by it.