What are the Characteristics of a Hireling?

Turn in your Bibles to John 10:12-13.

What are the characteristics of a hireling? What makes a hireling a hireling?

Let's explore some scriptures and let's see if we can clearly define the character of a hireling.
Let's start with the 2 verses we just read. Read verse 12 over.

The first characteristic of a hireling is:

1. A hireling is not a shepherd.

2. A hireling will flee the flock at the first sign of trouble.

Turn to John 2:17. This the third time Christ asks Peter to feed His sheep.
3. A hireling is not interested in feeding the sheep. A hireling is more interested in controlling you.

Turn to Acts 8:9-11.
4. A hireling claims he has a superior knowledge of the Bible and a hireling claims his authority comes from God.

Let's continue with verses 12-20.
5. A hireling seeks power. A hireling likes to set doctrine and make changes that have nothing to do with your spiritual growth.

Let's now take a look at the differences between someone who labors in the word of God and a hireling.
Turn in your Bible to Philemon 1:1, Paul states that he along with Timothy and Philemon are fellow laborers in the word of God. Turn to Acts 20:30-33, Paul made preaching the word of God his life. He put every ounce of sweat and tears in warning the brethren. He cared for them and nurtured them as a servant of God. His only thought was in serving the brethren. He did this night and day. Paul put his heart and soul into preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
6. A hireling is only interested in creating a following. The hireling must be the leader.

7. A hireling does not build and edify the body of Christ. A hirelings job begins and ends on the Sabbath for the most part.

8. A hireling is only interested in accumulating wealth. They stress tithing and giving offerings so they can continue to have an income.

Turn to Like 10:7, a laborer is worthy of his wage. Turn to a similar verse I Timothy 5:18.
What does all this mean?

Let's let Paul explain, turn to I Corinthians 9:1-8. The ox represents one who is a servant one who labors in the word of God. It wasn't lawful to let an ox work and not let him feed. Paul was explaining to the Corinthians church that he and Barnabas were the only apostles to labor in the word of God that also worked for a living to provide for their basic needs. Some of the apostles had wives to support and possibly children. There was no way they could do that while laboring night and day for the body of Christ. But Paul was going to preach the word of God whether the Corinthian church supported him or not. His reward was not being able to take money from the Corinthian church, but as a fellow partakers in the Kingdom of God.

9. A hireling is not a servant of God. A hireling is a lord and he wants to be served.

10. A hireling is greedy for money. His greed for money goes beyond the mere providing for his nourishment and supporting his family.

Turn to Matthew 20:1-10. These verses are saying that a laborer in the word of God was given a specific wage, he was paid at the end of the day and no matter how long he labored he did not receive anymore then the laborer which started after him.
A hireling wants to distinguish himself from the rest of the other hirelings. Some use wages to distinguish who the leader or leaders are.

11. Hirelings do not all make the same wage.

Turn to Matthew 6:24.
12. A hireling is loyal only to the organization he serves.

Turn to II Corinthians 2:3-4, Paul displayed a joy in serving the Corinthian church, he delighted in their spiritual growth and he had a deep profound love for those he served in Corinth. John 13:35, by this all will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
13. A hireling will not have love for the flock he tends.

Turn to John 15:13, and now to bring us back to where we started let's read John 10:11.
14. A hireling will not lay down his life for the flock.

A hireling is a hireling because of his attitude. His love for power and wealth goes beyond his love for God and the flock he should be serving. These are some characteristics of a hireling, a hireling may have one or two of these characteristics and still be a hireling. It is the same when we break one of the commandments of God we are guilty of all.

---Will Blair