Duct Tape Worship

(I recorded this true story in 2005, when my daughter was just a small child. Today she’s an adult. But it still grips my heart, and I wanted to bring it to you today.)

A few months ago, I had an interesting lesson in our relationship with the Lord. As I watch my young children relate to me as an earthly father, I’ve been getting little reminders of how our heavenly Father relates to us.

One afternoon as I pulled into the driveway and turned off the car, my four-year-old daughter hurried around the corner of the house. I rolled down the window, and she innocently handed me a small ball of duct tape, and said “Here, Daddy, I made this just for you! Bye!” and she gave me a kiss on the cheek and traipsed away with no further comment.

Six months later, that ball of duct tape still sits in my car. Every time I see it I’m reminded of her love. Does it have any intrinsic value? Maybe a penny’s worth of tape, which I’d peeled off a box and carelessly dropped on the floor of the garage the day before while unpacking something. Absolutely worthless by any other measure. But is its intrinsic value its true value? Not at all. Rather, I know the care that she put into taking that tape which she knew I’d handled, shaping it into something that pleased her aesthetic sense, and carefully presenting it back to me out of pure and innocent love, transformed from worthless scrap into something more valuable than gold.

My heart melted as she handed it to me. Certainly not because of the inherent value of the object, but because of the value of the gesture. Does she remember this incident? I’m not sure; knowing her, I think she might recognize it. But do I remember it? Absolutely.

What’s instructive about this little ball of duct tape?

In this simple act by my daughter, I saw echoed the love of our Heavenly Father for us. And it stands out in my mind as a lesson in worship.

We approach the Father much as she approached me that day. We live in a world far removed from our Father’s; we come and go at our level and rarely encounter His true Kingdom, and do so with little comprehension. Our understanding of the Father’s true heart is vague and limited by our humanity, yet slowly refined by His Spirit working in us. We have a simple, incomplete, dim understanding of His concept of relationship and worship.

So each time we present ourselves to the Father in worship, we bring to Him something very like that ball of duct tape. It springs from what He’s handled: our selves and our hearts. It’s our own concept of what He loves and desires, shaped by our experiences and the working of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Is it truly what He would want? I don’t believe it’s humanly possible to grasp the fullness of His majestic thoughts. But this duct tape tells me something about Him. As we come to His throne, full of childlike innocence and our incomplete understanding of love and worship, and we present to Him our gift of worship as best as we know how, I think His heart melts just the same as mine did that afternoon, and our little ball of duct tape worship is just as precious to Him as the richest perfumes and glorious colors and soaring sounds of the majestic worship of nature and the mightiest angel minstrels.

And yet the story does not end there. With my full awareness of the beauty of her gesture, I know it’s also incomplete. I long for the day when she can express her love to me as an adult, with a full comprehension of love in all its facets. Our Father must also long, just the same, for a more complete and refined expression of our own worship.

So I’m drawn yet further to know how our Father desires to be worshiped. I long for a more perfect grasp of His heart. I’m called to excellence on His terms, not just my own current awareness. I hope one day to stand before Him and worship in His throne room, in a way that fills His heart not just with love for my childish gesture, but with rich pleasure at receiving true and mature worship as He defines it.

And still, I’m beautifully comforted that for all my human fumbling, He must take my own little ball of duct tape worship and treasure it, as He dreams of a day yet to come.

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