Posted by: Mike Willoughby | June 8, 2010

Dirty Jobs!

Perhaps you have seen the popular Discovery Channel reality TV show, Dirty Jobs?  The purpose of the show is to highlight jobs that consist of unpleasant, unsanitary, smelly and disgusting tasks that most people would avoid at any cost.  The show’s host, Mike Rowe gets to try out the featured job for a day or two and the folks that normally get to do the job delight in torturing Mike by making the job as over-the-top disgusting as possible.  In addition to being quite educational concerning jobs that are not typically featured in any other setting, the show provides ample comic relief as Mike is subjected to humiliation and suffering.  In our house with three boys, Dirty Jobs has become a favorite DVR selection.  What could be more entertaining than watching a poor guy slopping through smelly and disgusting jobs?

 Although most of us would go to great lengths to avoid these jobs, none of the jobs featured on the show carry any particular stigma – they are just dirty jobs.  However, there is a famous parable in Luke 15 involving a dirty job that signified to all observers how lowly, pathetic and desperate the worker had become.  The job was that of feeding pigs, which was not only ceremonially unclean for a Jewish boy, it would have been disgusting enough to make it onto Dirty Jobs: Ancient Judaea Edition.  In the parable, the boy hit rock bottom as he found himself fighting pigs for their food and realized that even the dirtiest job in his father’s house was a premium posting compared to this pig-feeding duty.  He headed home practicing the apology he intended to deliver to the father he had turned his back on.  He dared only beg for some dirty job that might be left unclaimed by the household slaves.  Much to his surprise, the boy was met at the gate by the father he had denied and before he could offer his apology, his father ushered him back into his house, restored him to his position as a beloved son and threw a celebration bash.

We find ourselves uncomfortably represented in this parable as the son languishing in the dirty job.  Our unclean state was that of sin and depravity rather than pig feeding, but the despair was the same.  Just like the son, we were welcomed back to our father’s house even though we deserved to have the door slammed in our face.  What an amazing loving father we have who would keep a place of honor reserved for us even though we returned to him stained and dirty with sin!  Thanks be to God and our Savior, Jesus Christ for the grace that rescued us from Dirty Jobs: Eternity Edition!

Until next week,

Meet me at the intersection!


  1. Good post Mike. Dirty Jobs is a favorite on our DVR too!

    I recently read a great book by Tim Keller titled “The Prodigal God”. It is a fresh look at this parable in Luke 15 that challenges us to take a long, hard look at ourselves in light of what the parable teaches not just about the prodigal son, but also about the older brother. Short book. Highly recommended.

  2. Mike,

    I am glad to see others watch Dirty jobs, my boys and I enjoy and have lots of good conversation about the show.

    Being a Father we try to teach our boys lesson of life ,lots of hard ones, but we always welecome them home with love and excitement.

    I appreciate your time and life lessons you teach and look forward to each week. Thanks

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