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The Hireling Ref: John 10:12-13

Everyone is probably familiar with this portion of scripture where Jesus warns about the shepherd who does not have the sheep's best interests at heart.

The 2X2's use this scripture to praise the workers and to discount all other preachers as "hirelings". At first glance, it seems possible; on closer inspection it doesn't work.

Receiving a paycheck does not automatically make someone a hireling; alternately, NOT receiving a paycheck does not guarantee against hireling status. Say what? Ok, let me explain. Jesus often spoke about natural things but on a deeper, spiritual level. For example, the parable of the sower and the seed describes the spiritual condition of someone who would receive Jesus. There is a spiritual condition associated with being a hireling. Its not just a paycheck that makes hirelings, it is truly the individuals value system. It is manifest by the desire for something to benefit the person, and it often is achieved at the expense of others. It may be a paycheck, but it may be recognition, promotion, etc.

This is deceiving because people who live this way sometimes do achieve, but are typically not happy with what they get. On the other hand, people who are working just for the paycheck are often disappointed as in the following example;

Two men were working on the railroad. As they are working and talking, one of them sees a black limo driving up. He says, "Bill, would you look at that!" The limo drives up and slows; a window rolls down. Bill walks over and returns a few minutes later. "Wow, do you know him", the other guy asks. Bill answers, "yes, the railroad hired us on the same day. The difference is; I started work for $2.00 an hour, and he started work for the company."

If the workers exist to support William Irvine's "system" OR their own itinerant lifestyle, regardless of the consequences to the sheep, then they are nothing but the hirelings Jesus really described. Unfortunately, not all workers go because of love. Some go because of guilt, indecision or fear of life in the real world.

There is nothing biblically wrong with a preacher accepting a salary. Paul wrote, "If I have sown unto you spiritual things, is it any great thing that I reap your carnal things?" No, of course not.

Let us look for Christians in the way Jesus advised, "By their fruits you will know them."

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