Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Getting Dirty

I like getting dirty.

Not necessarily where you're literally covered head to toe and mud is oozing out of every orifice and you're still finding it behind your ears a few days later type of dirty...although sometimes that's fun, too. And, no, not necessarily the sexual type of dirty, either.

The type of dirty that matters.

The last week has stirred up some emotions in me that I had forgotten existed. I got to witness my eldest brother gearing up for a grand opening of a church plant. It required meetings, phone calls, early mornings, late nights, taking responsibility for things... and it's all volunteer. I got to sit in on a different church plant meeting with my youngest older brother (he's the 3rd of us 4 kids, and I'm the baby... just in case that got confusing) and his wife. As the church discussed starting out in a new location, they were soliciting the help of those who weren't afraid to get dirty...to arrive early to set up, to stay after to tear down, to sacrifice time, energy, and money for a cause they believed in.

As I've also been sifting through a lot of old memories (photos, emails, journals), I started getting nostalgic thinking about my earlier days working at camp full-time. When summer staff left, all that remained were 10 people to do everything to keep a year-round camp running.  We were jacks-of-all-trades by necessity. I quickly came to consider myself a professional dishwasher and shower scrubber as we cleaned up and prepared for new groups to arrive almost weekly.  Camp had just finished its seventh summer and we were constantly relying on a few generous donors to help pay off our monthly debt.  We were never guaranteed our next paycheck, but we worked long hours in faith that God would provide. 

We weren't afraid to get dirty... in fact, it was required that we did. Camp wouldn't function if we weren't willing to do anything and everything (including emptying out the slop buckets at the dump when it was usually inevitable that the conglomeration of congealed gravy, eggs, mashed potatoes would splash on you--the worst was when it sometimes, somehow, got in your mouth...). 

It's the type of dirty that when you say you need 'all hands on deck', you literally mean that you need all hands on deck. Every person is necessary, every person plays a vital role. The type of dirty where you don't possibly slack off because you know your team is counting on you, and you know that your goal, your mission, your vision is so much greater than you. 

It's the type of dirty that feels more refreshing and renewing than anything else, because it's centered around the gospel...and from that everything flows. It's the reason it's all worth it, and at the end of the day, no matter how tired you are...you're 100% convinced that your labor was not in vain. 

It's the type of dirty that's rewarding because of the fruit it bears. It's the type of dirty that flourishes, that gives life, that grows into something you could never hope for or imagine. 

I want to get dirty again. 
I want to work hard for the sake of the gospel. 
I want to help start things, I want to help things thrive... I want to do whatever it takes. 

I don't know when the last time is that you got dirty for the sake of the gospel. I don't know when the last time is that you sacrificed sleep, time, money for the sake of the gospel. I don't know when the last time is that you took a risk, that you took a chance, that you jumped into something you weren't sure would even be 'successful' simply because you thought the end goal was worth it...that you thought more people would know Jesus because of your efforts. 

I hope we'll all start looking for ways we can get dirty. 
Look for ways to help a struggling ministry, join a church plant, devote yourself to a team of believers that are unified in vision and passion...not because of what you'll get out of it, but because of what you can contribute to it...because you know that Jesus Christ is worth it, because you know He has given you gifts to be used so that He might be more glorified. Use them! 

Getting dirty doesn't have to look a certain way, just be willing to do it. 
Abandon everything else for the sake of Christ, for He is who we serve. 

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