This is a wonderful prophetic sermon preached today by my husband, Pastor Richmond Leigh. Read and be blessed!
This Sunday Pastor Richmond Leigh preached from the Book of John a sermon titled ‘Are you a Shepherd or a hireling?’ This is the Word of God: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 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. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own” (Jn 10:1-5; 11-14). Jesus our Lord is the good Shepherd. He has an eternal love relationship with His sheep. The children of God are His sheep. We are the flock of Christ! The religious unbelievers are symbolized as goats. No goat can become a sheep and no sheep can be transformed into a goat. A sheep is a sheep from the beginning of the world and the goat is a goat to the end. A goat does not need a shepherd. But a sheep without a shepherd will die.
The hireling is a man or a woman who only works for money. He takes care of the sheep for some time. But he does not care about the sheep. When he sees the wolf coming he abandons the sheep and runs away. The hireling does not have the sensitivity of the shepherd. He does not love the sheep. He only loves himself and his money. He has no love relationship with the sheep. He is not the owner of the sheep. He sees the flock as a foreign body, as a stranger. The spiritual hireling is a definite personality. You need the discernment of the Holy Spirit to recognize him. From afar he looks like a shepherd. He may look even more spiritual than the pastor. But a hireling can never become a shepherd. The love of money is the motive why he works in the field.
In the Bible, there is a story about two women who each had a baby (1 Kg 3:16-28). One baby died. The woman whose baby died wanted to take the other baby who was alive. They argued who is the mother of the living baby. They went before King Solomon, so that he can judge the case. With divine wisdom he said that they should cut the baby into two. The pretending mother said yes. This is the voice of the hireling. She has no feelings for the baby. He wants to baby dead. But the real mother said: ‘No! Do not kill the baby. Give her the baby!’ Solomon said that this is the real mother because she has feelings for her baby. She does not want her baby to die. Even if she will lose him, it is better than a dead baby. The real mother is the voice of the good Shepherd! She loves and cares for her sheep!
How can you identify a hireling? The truth is that it is very hard to know who is a shepherd and who is a spiritual hireling! Only time will tell. The main difference between the true shepherd and the hireling is not visible! It is in the heart! It concerns the motivation of doing ministry. The difference is internal, spiritual and invisible. That is why it is hard to detect a true pastor from a spiritual hireling. Both dress the same. They speak almost the same. But the true shepherd is genuinely humble. He does not struggle to prove himself. His motive for being a shepherd is to take care, protect and feed the sheep. Our Lord commanded Peter three times: ‘Feed My sheep! Take care of My lambs!’ (Jn 21:15-19). The true pastor obeys these commands for the glory of His Lord! But the hireling is different. His motive for doing ministry is for his own benefit. He worships God for money. He preaches the Word of God for money. He does not care about the sheep or the glory of his Lord. He does not feed the sheep. He fleeces them. He is not ready to suffer when taking care of the sheep. If there is a little trouble, of if he thinks that the sheep do not benefit him anymore, he runs and abandons the flock. He has no shame. He does not fear God. The spiritual hireling is interested only in money and fame. He is gathering followers.
This is a very serious matter. These men come as spiritual leaders in the churches but they are not born again. They are selfish and greedy. They are very good at soliciting funds from church people. They are dangerous because they deceive the Christians in the name of ministry. A pastor, a spiritual leader, an apostle, a prophet, a Bible teacher, a husband or a father can be either a true shepherd or a hireling. This is a sad reality. Pray for discernment! The Holy Spirit will open your eyes to see the truth that will set you free! Our Lord warned us: ‘By their fruits you shall know them’ (Mt 7:20). Finally, this is the question: Are you a shepherd or a hireling? Are you a sheep or a goat? Do you love money more than God? Do you give glory to God or to yourself? Test yourself! Worship the Lord!
(In the picture, my husband, Pastor Richmond Leigh)