Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wax On, Wax Off

If you've seen "The Karate Kid", you know about Mr. Miyagi.

If you're not familiar with this guy, allow me to explain.

In "The Karate Kid", a young guy is troubled by getting picked on, so he approaches Mr. Miyagi about teaching him some karate. Instead of karate though, he gets taught how to "sand the floor", "paint the fence" and waxing the car, using the elusive "wax-on wax-off" technique. Further, when the kid tries taking shortcuts to do the job faster, Mr. Miyagi comes out and corrects him. One scene showed the kid (Daniel) sanding the deck until night, and instead of using the two hand-sanders, he was using both hands on one. Mr. Miyagi called him on it, showing him the right way yet again--do a few circles with the left, and a few with the right. Left-a circle, Right-a circle. Finally the kid gets upset and complains that all he's doing is being used for odd jobs... and it turns out that the way the jobs were done were training him for karate. The same weird, unefficient moves that were used in sanding the floor, painting the fence and waxing the car were ideal for defending against punches and kicks.

Today I'd like to talk about how God sometimes plays the Mr. Miyagi card.

We're human. Sometimes we take shortcuts in life. The things we used to do the "right way" evolve into doing things the "better way"... better because the job the procedure is applied to gets done faster, or with less energy.

God sometimes gives us stuff to do, not just to keep us busy, but to train us for something else later on. There is a "better way" that we can do it--a way that makes it easier on us--but are we defrauding ourselves out of bigger lessons that could be learned by doing it the right way? How often do we think that God is focusing on the job at hand, when He's really not, and we concern ourselves with getting the job done well?

I just got done reading 1 Samuel 13, and the part where Saul chose to make the sacrifice instead of waiting on Samuel really stands out. Samuel was the one that was supposed to do the sacrifices, but Saul chose to do it when Samuel hadn't shown up by the proper time. Saul's reasoning was that the sacrifice needed to be done so that his army would defeat the Philistines, and Samuel wasn't there, so the next best thing was to just do it himself. Instead of using biblical ethics, he used situational ethics.

That wasn't the proper response. Putting that rule in place wasn't for Samuel's job security, it was for people to learn to trust and wait on the Lord. Samuel was God's prophet, so if he really needed to be there at a particular time, God would get him there on time. Saul's reaction to this really revealed what was in his heart. When things got dicey, Saul trusted in himself, not in the Lord.

So, my point is, think about what things are going on it your life that God's given you to do. What kind of work is going on inside you that seems indirectly related to the job? Don't short yourself by doing things the quick way if the right way nets you more growth in your faith in the Lord.

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