We all remember the movie, if you don’t you are probably very young and you might want to pull it up for movie night – so you can step back to the 80’s with us :o) If you have never seen it is your warning: SPOILER ALERT AHEAD!
Daniel, a new kid in town is having problems at school – bullies. He seeks out a way defend himself and goes to visit a local karate school only to find his adversary firmly entrenched in what is a class prone to dominate and destroy rather than defend.
What to do? His mother isn’t going to move. He can’t outrun them. He definitely isn’t prepared to fight them. All seems hopeless.
Enter Mr. Miyagi who extends hope and help to Daniel. He is a Master Martial Artist however he looks like a reclusive repairman living in a bit of a mess. Desperate Daniel agrees to swap out labor for instruction. Days and weeks go by with Daniel coming and going afterschool and on weekends to work.
Cleaning inside – okay not just cleaning but doing it in a specific pattern or way. Mr. Miyagi didn’t seem to care to do it himself before Daniel but now knew exactly how he wanted it all to be done. Inside. Outside. The fence repairs. The painting. There could be no deviation from his perferred method. Left to right. Right to left. Up then down. Right hand only. Left hand only. Little things! Do they really matter!! Apparently yes.
Move the rag in small cirlces moving out. Moving in. Ughhhh! Mr. Miyagi had a very fixed opinion about EVERY detail regarding how each chore should be done yet he never stayed to help finish a thing – he just instructed, watched and if unsatisfied he would mess the whole thing back up and have Daniel start again. And it went on and on… another task always readied to follow as soon as he finished the last one.
Wash the car. Wax the car. Where would it end!
All the meaningless assignments seemed to help Mr. Miyagi. His shabby abode was immaculate! His dirty old cars were actually cool classics when they were shined up!
But NONE of that was helping Daniel gain the karate knowledge he desired in order that he might walk through school and town rather than run to class and home to hide from his taunters.
Tired of the endless chores and demands Mr. Miyagi kept placing on him, Daniel one day rises in anger completely frustrated – only to find the lessons had begun after he agreed to serve to gain what he desired.
The movements within every task had been the lesson. Each job and set of instructions had been intentionally prepared to equip him for the journey ahead… they were the training!
Is Daniel not like us?
We are walking through an environment not of our choosing. Tired of running. Hiding. Maneuvering.
Every time we think we have found a way to pull ahead and make it work we watch as it unravels before us and once again we find our nemesis stands before us in opposition.
Where do we go when we realize that the enemies team is not an option because it does not align with our heart or nature? They are our constant source of chaos – they inspire and feed our fears.
If we too are wise and willing to follow we can find our hearts stilled before ‘The Master’.
We will hear Him speak, ‘I can help you. Instruct you. If you will trust and heed Me. You will find yourself as we make your way and you seize your purpose… your end.’
Is our Master not like Mr. Miyagi?
Are not the hurdles, large and small, that we crossed this year, last week, even today – moments given that we could learn from as we are being led through them?
Are we to selfish? We surrendered to His will grateful to have found rest but when things don’t pan out like we wanted, when the going gets tough, when it seems like God has our full attention but we don’t have His… do we bow up aka throw a fit, walk, pout, have tantrum.
And it doesn’t just happen when life is hard. If we are honest, when things aren’t pressing upon us we are also prone to drift and get lazy in our attention to detail with the things of God aka our heart. Our discipline falters. Our self-reliance seeks to reign. Quiet times slide. Prayer. Seeking His face. Not a necessary part of our day. And pride or selfish reflection rise up to reign.
The problem is that the enemy will always look for the back door when the frontal assault isn’t working. He doesn’t worry if our defeat comes from without or within. Our numbness and complacencies will serve him just as well.
How many times in my journey of faith have I grown restless of the endless procession of seemingly unimportant details filling my days. I am not denting the darkness. The things I do seem temporal and seem to add no help in the reaching of my hearts desire or heaven’s. Flustered by the endless task of mundane activity I too cry out in frustration as NOTHING I did today seems to have gotten me any closer to the answers I need… the help I seek so desperately. I listened. I painted. I washed. I washed again. I waxed… yet I am still afraid.
And it doesn’t matter what we are afraid of or consumed by… each of us are held in check by something and our prayer is that God would move it. Change it. Make it disappear. But God watches and knows that if our faith is to be established it must also be tested… rooted. And He knows the battles that are not His to fight for us but ours alone. And with great love and grace he is equipping us for that.
That is the difference between The Master and the one who would be taught. Everything we do that He has set before us, as meaningless as it may seem, is part of the journey. If we don’t choose daily to embrace the moment, things, opportunities (big or small) and people God has in His wisdom placed before us how will we be ready when the ‘big fights’ come? When the adversary doesn’t knock but rises threateningly above us.
Mr. Miyagi made Daniel ready.
The Spirit of God rests within us ready and able to do the same.
The scripture we know says: (DO NOT STOP NOW)
“Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not lose heart.” Gal 6:9 (NKJV)
“… all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” Rom 8:28 (NKJV)
and that we are to be “…STRENGTHENED WITH MIGHT THROUGH HIS SPIRIT IN THE INNER MAN…” Eph 3:16 (NKJV)
Do you know what strengthen means here? Let me share with you Daniel-son.
Strengthened # 2901 in the Greek New Testament dictionary is: to be empowered, to increase in vigor, to WAX strong.
And WAX as defined by Webster is:
to increase in size, strength, number or intensity… to grow toward full developement
to assume a (specified) characteristic, quality or state… BECOME
WAX itself is more than something secreted by bees it is a pliable or liquid composition used especially in and for uniting surfaces, making patterns, impressions or producing a polished surface.
Are we not in this to be perfected into His image?
Are not our hearts desirious to attain who we can be in light of who He is?
Are we not willing to BECOME? To wax strong? To be polished? Equipped? Will we not endure the temporal labor to gain a crown?
You know that is what happens in the movie right? Not just in heaven but with Mr. Miyagi.
All Mr. Muyagi had, all Daniel labored through and with he leaves upon his death to Daniel. It will be his gift of love, his legacy to the one to calls Daniel-son.
And so it is with us and our Master. What we do or choose not to do within our world will not change or effect Him… only us.
Four hours ago I was having my quiet time and had to set my mind full of questions aside in order that I might hear and receive the Word with my heart. Reading in Ephesians 3, one section stopped me. One Word caught my eye. One definition locked me in and transported me back in time to the Karate Kid as the words, “WAX ON. WAX OFF.” echoed within my inner man. And God walked me through the above. (Some of us do better with illustrations LOL)
And now I rise inspired in spite of the fact that nothing in my world has changed except me and I hope you. Whatever our hands find to do, may we all do it today with all of our might as unto the Lord and be glad… for this is another day that He has made for us. May we be content to follow His instructions. Trust His timing. Resting in His wisdom.
One last word of wisdom from Mr. Miyagi.
“Either you karate do ‘Yes.’ or karate do ‘No.’ You karate do ‘Guess so.’ (get squished) just like a grape.”