“The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep” (John 10:13).
A hireling is someone who serves for the purpose of pay check and not prepare to take risk on behalf of the owner of a business venture; whereas a son is the next in line to the owner of the venture. A son is prepared to work without pay and take extra risk if required so as to make the business a going concern.
Genuine love is the bedrock of the Christian faith as demonstrated by God Himself in sending His Son to the world to die for our sins(John 3:16). Christ said, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). Our Sonship identity is a product of grace and will only be sustained through obedience to God’s instructions; otherwise it may be up in the air and we’ll become susceptible to attack by the enemy of our souls.
A son will strongly defend his inheritance and be more than ready to hire mercenaries as allies against every assault, but a hireling will run away when foes come attacking, leaving the sheep vulnerable to attack. Jesus Christ laid His life for His sheep so as to win the entire world to Himself and He encouraged Christians to do same.
How long you’re prepared to sacrifice for Him and His sheep will probably determine your identity – hireling or a son. It’s a statement of fact that God rewards faithful workers even if your earthly employer seems not to. When your Father’s will is read finally, the ownership and rewards come to you; but an hireling has no further inheritance outside his monthly pay check.
Unfortunately handful of sons still behave like hirelings. If you maltreat the sheep in your care, what do you want to inherit when the original owner departs? When you eat both the seed and the harvest today, what will be left for you to eat at your old age? But if you look after His sheep as expected, lead them to greener pastures and constant water flow (Psalm 23:2), you will not only be fulfilled for doing so, but also secure your future.