Banging on a Trash Can for Jesus


“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” Eccl. 9:10.

Ali Gilkeson of Rend Collective Experiment // Photo by Robin McCoy

Ali Gilkeson, Rend Collective Experiment Photo by Robin McCoy

I saw the band Rend Collective Experiment in concert a while back. If you’ve never heard of Rend Collective — as I hadn’t before this night — they’re an Irish Christian band that’s heavy on the use of percussion and strings and other unique instruments.

Unique instruments like, oh, I don’t know  … a metal trash can.

I was far enough back that I couldn’t see at first exactly what the girl (Ali Gilkeson) pictured above was doing. I’d see a ribbon go flying up and then hear a “boom.”

I said to the person next to me, “Is she banging on a trash can?”

Yes, yes she was.

It was beautiful in a way I can’t describe, but I’m gonna try.

Banging on the can itself was not the beautiful thing, nor really what it added to the music, although it added something to be sure. What was beautiful to me was this: this girl was using whatsoever her hand was doing — even making music with, of all things, a metal cylinder made to hold garbage — to the glory of God.

Colossians 3: 16 & 17 says, “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus ….”

Some may be skeptical or critical of using a trash can in praise to God, but I think beautiful also is the word picture this affords us.

If a cold metal cylinder intended to hold the nasty waste of our world can be used to bring glory to God and encouragement to others how much more can He use us? Sometimes we may feel as nasty as a trash can — I have felt that way — but when put to use for Him, even a trash receptacle is beautiful.

It’s the same with us. When put to use for Him, we become more beautiful too because He redeems — gives value — to us and our trash.

I don’t make music with trash cans, although I’d love to. If the music director puts out the call for a trash can player for our church band, I’m on it. The “whatsoever I do” are things like write, volunteer, knit, read …. I try to write as unto the Lord and He gives it value. Knit as unto the Lord, volunteer as unto the Lord … you get the idea.

Say “yes,” do it as unto Him, and He will give it value.

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