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The Dirty Jobs of Faith

By: Dr. Skip Myers
web posted September 4, 2006
Edgefielddaily.com columnist

It is a salute to those people who do the dirty jobs that make civilized life possible for the rest of us.  Each week this poor guy, Mike Rowe, hosts a television show where he explores those “dirty jobs” done by daring men and women so that we can live a better and somewhat cleaner life.  Most of these jobs are things I take for granted and would never even consider them as having to be done.  And yet, there is someone out there willing to do the dirty jobs so that I can reap the benefits of a better world.

The host of this show not only explores these jobs but he actually gets in there and does them as well. He has done some things that I wouldn’t think of doing. He has cleaned out every animal cage imaginable. He has cleaned out sludge pits.  He has taken left over buffet food and garbage and made hog slop out of it. He has unstopped city sewage lines and even performed a shark autopsy just to name a few of the dirty jobs he has done. I don’t know about you but none of these things sound the least bit appealing and just think, each day there is someone out there doing these jobs.

The one thing I noticed is that the people who are doing these jobs aren’t as affected by the smells and nastiness as Mike Rowe seems to be. All the surrounding noise, smell, sights, and just plain mess have become a part of these folks everyday life. It’s only when someone new is subjected to all of this that they are reminded just how terrible their job must seem to someone else. For them it is just business as usual. They seem to get a kick out Mike’s reactions and it does make for fairly good entertainment.

What would you consider to be the dirty job of faith? Now I know most of us would immediately point a finger to an individual we know who just isn’t easy to get along with and proclaim them as our “dirty job.” While that might be somewhat stressful it doesn’t come close to the dirty job I have in mind. It is one so distasteful to most that we avoid it with every ounce of energy we can muster.

Let me introduce this “dirty job” of faith by using a verse from the Bible found in Proverbs 16:2: All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, but the Lord weighs the motives. The dirtiest job of faith doesn’t involve our looking to another person and the dirt in their lives. The dirty job most of us avoid is looking within and allowing the Lord to lead us to clean out the “sludge pits” in our own lives. The reason we avoid this dirty job is found in the verse above. We all like to believe that what we are doing is right or at least it can be justified.

We have become so use to the dirt that we seldom let it have an affect on us during our daily routine. In other words, we no longer small the stink! But remember, just because we no longer smell the stink doesn’t mean its not there. When we stop allowing the Lord to convict us of the dirt in our lives it will eventually take its toil. It will add up and then back up. And when it does it usually hurts those around us. You see, they know the dirt is there. They have reacted to what we simply accept as part of who we are. We have become blind to the affects the dirt has on us and on others. We see their reaction to the dirt as being self-righteously judgmental. So what we do is simply find a group of people whose dirt smells as bad as ours and we hang out with them. Or we choose to force the ones we love to keep a safe distance--out of range of the smell.

Before you think this sounds awfully self-righteous on my part. Let me assure you that I speak on a subject that I am well-acquainted with. You see, we all have dirt. It’s unavoidable because we are human. What is avoidable is letting the dirt stay in our lives when we have a Savior whose death took care of our sin. What it takes is for us to realize the dirtiness of dirt; the smell of dirt; the staining power of dirt; the way our dirt can easily get on someone else.  Realize you have a God who loves you so much that He is willing to get down into the sludge pit with you. He will bring the brush and the only thing that can make us clean: His love and righteousness. He waits for your invitation.

Why not invite the Lord to your personal episode of “dirty jobs.” You will love a cleaner life and so will those around you. It is a life that is more joyful and at peace with God and with self. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.( Ephesians 5:1-2) Your life can be a fragrant aroma of praise to the Lord. All it takes is the right person for the dirty job and that’s the Lord. I’ll see you Sunday as we celebrate clean together.


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