In an ideal world, your employer is concerned with you AND the profitability of the company.

It’s a tight rope to be sure.  Those employers might tell you: to be effective in the world of business, you must understand the language of business.  Every field has its jargon, and the business world has no shortage.  As we’re starting 2022, here is a handy translation guide to help you understand how your employer looks after you.

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  • “We have to be more competitive” means “Say goodbye to salary increases.”
  • “We must focus on our core business” means “We can’t find our behind with both hands.”
  • “You are empowered” means “You’re the monarch of unimportant decisions.”
  • “We’re re-engineering your function” means “Adios, Tonto, and the horse you rode in on.”
  • “Training is essential” means “We’re trying to hire some trained people.”
  • “We’re market-driven” means “We blame customers for our lack of innovation.”

This is how you sometimes feel in your jobs, right?  And it’s because that’s how many people “look after” us.  They treat us like mushrooms: feed us bull and keep us in the dark.  This is not how the Lord looks after His own, however.

Instead, we experience life because of His death.  We are, literally, renewed by His death.  This is the behavior of the Real Shepherd, Jesus.  As we continue (with part two) our three-part journey of John 10 (John 10:1-10, John 10:11-15, and John 10:16-21), we read the words of Jesus in John 10:11-13:

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  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.  

John 10:11-13
New International Version

Jesus says in verse 11, “I am the good shepherd.”  Why is He “the Good Shepherd?”

He “lays down his life for the sheep.”  Shepherds were not the effeminate, metrosexual types.  These guys were tough.  They worked long hours and were willing to die for their investment—literally, die.  They didn’t just go around squeezing cuddly, little lambs.  These guys didn’t shower for weeks and didn’t always eat much better than the sheep.

But shepherds never started their day hoping for death; they certainly didn’t plan on it.  Jesus, however, is a Shepherd par excellence.  Jesus doesn’t just risk His life for us, He actually chose to die for us.  It was Jesus’ death qualifying Him as our Great Shepherd. 

When the shepherds were busy, they would hire people to watch the sheep.  But this hired hand didn’t typically provide the same care as the shepherd.  When trouble would come around, this hired worker would typically run away.  The animals weren’t worth their lives.

This is a good spot to pause and take the side trail of how we respond to our pastors and Bible teachers.  Can I point out that we are not your Savior?  We are not the Great Shepherd.  We did not die for you.  We follow the Great Shepherd.  We don’t own you and you don’t belong to us.  While we’re not just “hired hands,” we certainly can’t secure your salvation.

To our Great Shepherd, however, we are worth His life.  In one of the great ironies of our faith, we are given life by His death.  Jesus doesn’t die on a cross in some kind of sick way of boasting, “See how much I love you!”

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No, the assumption in the death of Christ is that we are in mortal danger.  Indeed, we are “for the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a).  Without the sacrificial, atoning death of Jesus the Son of God, we are bound for hell without hope and without help.

With the sacrificial, atoning death of Jesus the Son of God we can proclaim the other half of Romans 6:23, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Amen!  He is the Good Shepherd and has proven Himself as worthy of our allegiance.

And our allegiance pays off because He is truly watching over us and leading us in His path.


If you’d like to read “The Real Shepherd, Part 1 (John 10:1-10),” you can read that here.