The professing church is brimming with hirelings. What is a “hireling” you might ask, and how is it relevant to the question of the condition of today’s church? I’m glad you asked. Let’s see what the Lord Jesus has to say of the hireling:
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. (John 10:11-13)
As you can see, the Lord isn’t impressed with the hireling, in fact He disdains him and heaps contempt upon him. So what does it say about the state of the church when today’s denominational pipelines and seminaries are cranking out hirelings nearly as fast as Mattel cranks out Ken and Barbie? And isn’t there a parallel here between the plastic Christianity of these hirelings and their plastic toy counterparts? Why yes, yes there is; they’re both fake and without true life.
True life is the life imputed by the Lord of Hosts and is a thing which no man can attain to, it is the gift of God lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). Yet today’s plastic Christian leadership – equipped with their plastic crosses – shill a plastic gospel that is bloodless, powerless, and ineffectual for salvation. These blind leaders of the blind send countless myriads of deceived followers home each week singing of a heaven they’ll never see apart from the change of heart, submission, and faithful obedience to Christ that are foundational to true salvation.
But believer beware! These hirelings become simultaneously defensive and aggressive when their meal-ticket is threatened. If one dares question the status quo of their Nicolaitane constructs, rest assured that the poisoned darts of false accusations and ad hominem are sure to fly his way. All bets are off and all the stops are pulled when these spiritual cockroaches are exposed to the light of scripture. As they quickly scurry from the light they hurl baseless accusations, twist scripture, and resort to absurd claims of spiritual authority in their desperate attempts to maintain their deception at all costs. Not unlike the miserable, feeble old man hiding behind the curtain while pretending to be “The Great and Powerful Oz”, the spiritual charlatan will attempt continue his masquerade even when the truth is standing there staring him squarely in the face.
Of the hireling Tozer well said:
A Hireling; No True Shepherd
Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:6-7)
It is doubtful whether we can be Christian in anything unless we are Christian in everything. To obey Christ in one or two or ten instances and then in fear of consequences to back away and refuse to obey in another is to cloud our life with the suspicion that we are only fair-weather followers and not true believers at all. To obey when it costs us nothing and refuse when the results are costly is to convict ourselves of moral trifling and gross insincerity….
Again, the pastor when facing his congregation on Sunday morning, dare not think of the effect his sermon may have on his job, his salary or his future relation to the church. Let him but worry about tomorrow and he becomes a hireling and no true shepherd of the sheep. No man is a good preacher who is not willing to lay his future on the line every time he expounds the Word. He must let his job and his reputation ride on each and every sermon or he has no right to think that he stands in the prophetic tradition. SIZ, 146-147.
(A.W. Tozer, Tozer on Christian Leadership)
May the hirelings quickly find themselves either out of work or broken and repentant before the One True Living God, the Creator and Judge of the universe.
A prayer: Give me grace to follow, Lord–especially when it really does cost me something. Amen.