The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own 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. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
Jesus is invested in our well-being. We are not just another part of creation to him, not another face in the crowd, not another name in the book of life. We are his, intimately, personally, powerfully.
There are many things we can give our lives to while on this earth. We can pursue education, careers, finances, experiences, relationships, and so much more. We come to them asking what can they do for us. And at the end of the day, that is the only thing that matters – the amount of ourselves we are willing to give is directly in proportion to what we believe that thing can give back to us.
This is where Jesus makes things difficult. You see he comes to us, first. But not with the expectation to get something from us, but to give. He does not hold back anything; he gives his all, his life. And then he waits for us to respond. For the first time in our lives we are faced with a thing that does not offer a proportionate gift, but at once lays it all down. How do we respond? Either we can give nothing and still receive everything, or we can do what are heart craves – that is to give all. Everything for everything.
The idols in our lives will flee when the wolves come. The wolves are unfortunate circumstances, sorrows, failures, and confusion. And those of us who were bound to one another because we placed our hope in the same idol scatter. We see how vulnerable we are and in selfishness run, hoping the trouble that is coming after us will be delayed by troubling someone else first.
Our idols care nothing for us.
The things we invest our lives in, if they are not God, do not spend a second thought on our well-being. As much as we use them, they use us.
Jesus is not an idol, he’s an owner. He does not use us to gain, he frees us to give. He is our shepherd and he does not run away. He does not abandon his sheep when the wolves come. Jesus was not hired to be our Savior, he volunteered. I love them so I will give everything.