Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday devotions: Hired Hands or Higher Hand? John 10:11-18

Today's Lectionary Reading: John 10:11-18

John 10:12     The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 

I read a very sad statistic this morning and it has bothered me since that time. According to a 2008 survey of a mainstream denomination, 54% of pastors did not believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. That was four years ago, so I now suspect that the number will be about 57 - 60% of pastors.

Why is this happening? Any business that employed sales people who did not fully believe in the product would soon go under. Any sports team that did not have players who believed in the coach would keep on losing. And any church that has a pastor who does not believe Christ is the World’s only Savior is doomed to fail because congregations, with shepherds who believe in nothing, always end up believing in anything.

I am fortunate to lead a congregation of folks who try to put Christ at the center of their lives. They know Who He is and all that He has done for them. They understand that they have faults and sins like everyone else on Earth, but they also believe that the grace of Christ saves them from being eternally separated from God. If I didn’t believe 100% in Christ being the Good Shepherd who calls everyone to His flock in order to be forgiven and restored to God through Him alone, then I would create havoc with their beliefs, confuse the minds of the congregation, and eventually scatter the sheep. I would only be a hired hand and not influenced at all by a Higher Hand.

Any business that employs sales people who do not fully believe in the product is doomed to fail. Any branch of Christendom that ordains pastors who do not fully believe in Christ being the Only Savior of the World is destined to diminish and, sadly, eventually die.

Hired hands or the Higher Hand – which leads the church we serve?

Prayer:                        Lord Jesus, we play around in our minds with notions, ideas, and opinions that are self-serving, self-fabricated, and self-centered. You died for those sins and, deep within our hearts, we know that only You have the key to unlock Heaven’s Door. Forgive us for failing to believe in You and for allowing the world to distract and deceive us. Help us today to fully accept that You are the Good Shepherd and that when we listen to Your voice, we find salvation. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to

Today’s image is John’s latest Pentecost drawing. It’s a stained glass design called “Pentecost Paraklesis.” If you would like to view a larger version of the image, please click on the following link:

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