Are you a hireling or a son? In his famous sermon about the good shepherd Jesus contrasts the good shepherd with the hireling. When a wolf attacks the flock the cowardly hireling abandons the sheep and runs for his life. However the son risks his life by running forward and putting himself in danger between the sheep and the wolf. These are the two choices we have in our relationship with the Lord. We can serve the Lord like an employee or like a member of the family.
The employee does only what he has to do. He arrives for work just before his shift begins and clocks out as soon as the numbers on the clock turn over at the end of the day. He does exactly what he’s required to do and no more. It was in this same spirit that the lawyer asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” He didn’t ask in sincerity wanting to truly learn but because he served God like an employee. As an employee he wanted an detailed definition of “neighbor” so he could fulfill the commandment exactly without doing any extra, unnecessary work.
The son, on the other hand, is a member of the family. He never clocks out and goes home. He’s on call all the time. He works gladly because he loves his father and his father’s house. He needs no job description because he considers his job to be anything that needs to be done. It never enters his mind to ask, “Who is my neighbor?”
This world is our Father’s world. Everything and everyone we see belongs to him. Our only choice is how will we live. Will we live as small-minded, petty employees continually saying, “That’s not my job. She’s not my neighbor. I’m on my break right now.” Or will we live as sons and daughters of the owner who are always gladly about our Father’s business.