In this series, I've been going over what shepherd leadership is. I've spent the first three posts (1, 2, 3) describing how shepherds protect. But that is not all a shepherd does. Shepherds also serve. With this post I hope to show the difference between true shepherds and "hired hands".
What Shepherd Service Isn't
I start here because this is where our text, John 10:12 & 13 start. The hired hand doesn't protect the sheep and therefore doesn't really serve them. He is the type of person who is in it for his own glory, his own safety, and is only concerned about the pay.
When trouble comes he bails. Why? Because he doesn't "own the sheep" (vs. 12), "he flees" (vs. 13) because he "cares nothing" (vs. 13) for the sheep. The hired hand is in for the easy paycheck that doesn't require any real work. They are not willing to actually serve and have no desire to be an example. They are worldly in their approach and self-exalting in the way they perform their duties.
What Shepherd Service is
The work of true shepherd service can be summed up in one word: sacrifice. Just like THE good Shepherd, Jesus, a good under-shepherd "lays down his life for the sheep" (vs. 11). He never "flees" (vs. 13), but is faithful to what God has called him to. He is committed to this calling, regardless of cost.
But how does sacrifice work? What does it require? What does this look like practically? These are the topics for future posts.