12 The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away -- and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep.The status of the average shepherd wasn't that great, but as the owner, at least he had a vested interest in his sheep. A hired hand, however, was working simply for the money, not caring about the sheep. If shepherds were not especially trustworthy, then hired hands were even less so. Some certainly did not do the one job they were hired to do--guard the sheep!
The hired hand leaves them when trouble, in the form of a wolf, comes (verse 12). The hired hand runs away in fear. Unprotected, left alone, the sheep are scattered when the wolf approaches.
There used to be a blog entitled "You've Really Got to Love Your People." This name runs through my mind frequently, especially when we speak of healthy and unhealthy congregations. Are we as leaders abdicating responsibilities of love and care for all God has called us to? Are we loving our people, whoever, wherever they may be? Or are we just in the job for the money, the prestige? Are we being good shepherds or hired hands?