True Shepherds vs. Hirelings

The present-day church seems to have bought into the lie that being loving means that you are never stern or tough with anyone. But the Bible says in Romans 12:9b that we ought to “Abhor that which is evil.” Ephesians 5:11 says, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” And in 2 John 9-11, the Bible says not to bid anyone Godspeed or receive him into your house if he does not bring the doctrine of Christ.

In John 10:11-14, Jesus said:

“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.”


Jesus is called the Chief Shepherd in 1 Peter 5:4. Christ is the example to all the under-Shepherds. Christ does several things which show that He is the Good Shepherd: lays down his life for the sheep, cares for and tends to the sheep, and feeds the sheep.

Christ also protects the sheep. Notice in the passage above from John 10 that Christ does not leave the sheep when the wolves or false teachers come. That is contrasted with the fleeing hireling, who cares for his wages and not the sheep.

Sadly, there are many national religious and denominational leaders in our country who have left the door wide open to the wolves. In fact these same leaders seem to cozy up to the wolves while at the same time criticizing the sheep for raising concerns about the danger that the wolves pose. A true shepherd will side with his sheep over the wolves. If a shepherd defends the wolves, you know that he is a hireling. That person is not serving the sheep, but himself.

We as Christians need to be able to discern between true shepherds and hirelings. We also need to be willing to confront evil and oppose it instead of tolerating it. A true shepherd may seem harsh to some when he carries out this function, but he is really carrying out his Biblical role. Remember, a true shepherd will protect the sheep.

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