It might sound cliche to say that ministry is dirty, but it’s actually biblical. Proverbs 14:4 says, “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.” Clean ministries produce little fruit, dirty ministries bring in abundant harvests.
There are two kinds of clean ministries:
First, sanitary churchianity ministries, where perfect people show up and pray for yucky, foul-mouthed, fornicating people. If they do outreach, it’s to a doorbell and if they invite people somewhere it’s to church and not into their homes.
Second, nice self-help ministries, where leaders preach from the last Oprah episode, challenge no one, avoid hard topics, claim God’s greatest purpose is to fulfill our dreams, and do everything possible to appear pristine according to the world’s standards.
No one would welcome Jesus in these sort of communities. He loved too many dirty people and said too many hard truths to convict his culture. Jesus would have fouled up these whitewashed ministries.
If he avoided dirt, we would be lost. By taking on our dirt, filth, and grime, Christ produced the great harvest of salvation–for which all of heaven and earth glorify him.
By his grace Jesus invites us to get dirty. His love heals us from the fear mucking up our self-righteousness and our comfort in the world, because in him we have a better promise, his righteousness and glory.