KEYWORDS: gift, service, grace, works,
Bryan Chapell tells a story about learning to use a crosscut saw with his father. As Bryan and his father were sawing through a log that had a rotten core, a piece of wood sheared off that looked just like a horse's head. So Bryan took it home and then later on gave it to his dad as a present. Chapell continues:
I attached a length of two-by-four board to that log head, attached a rope tail, and stuck on some sticks to act as legs. Then I halfway hammered in a dozen or so nails down the two-by-four body of that "horse," wrapped the whole thing in butcher block paper, put a bow on it, and presented it to my father. When he took off the wrapping, he smiled and said, "Thank you, it's wonderful … what is it?"
"It's a tie rack, Dad," I said. "See, you can put your ties on those nails going clown the side of the horse's body." My father smiled again and thanked me. Then he leaned the horse against his closet wall (because the stick legs could not keep it standing upright), and for years he used it as a tie rack.
Now, when I first gave my father that rotten-log-horse-head tie rack, I really thought it was "good." In my childish mind this creation was a work of art ready for the Metropolitan Museum. But as I matured, I realized that my work was not nearly as good as I had once thought. In fact, I understood ultimately that my father had received and used my gift not because of its goodness but out of his goodness. In a similar way our heavenly Father receives our gifts not so much because they deserve his love, but because he is love.