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  • Writer's pictureJohn Kim

The Karate Kid - Wax On Wax Off

John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” This weekend our family watched the original 1984 version of The Karate Kid. In it, a young boy named Daniel Larusso moves across the country and gets bullied by his new schoolmates. In what looked to be just another beating, the local maintenance man, Mr Miyagi, steps in and gives these young punks a taste of their own medicine. Shocked at his skills, Daniel begs Miyagi to teach him karate, and Mr Miyagi begrudgingly agrees. His new sensei then tasks Daniel with a whole list of chores including scrubbing floors and waxing cars. “Wax on… wax off. Make circle. Like dis. Make sure you breathe. Berry important.” Eager at first, Daniel’s enthusiasm quickly turns to exasperation as he performs these chores for days. Struggling to see their relevance to Miyagi’s promise of teaching karate, Daniel eventually blows up at his teacher. “Why are you making me do these chores?” “Daniel-san… wax on…” “What??” “Wax on… like on da car… make circle.” Daniel makes a circular motion with his hand and Miyagi punches his student in what would be a deathly blow. But the wax on motion blocks Miyagi’s punch with perfect precision. Then all of the sudden, Daniel realized that the days of training had in fact served a purpose. His teacher was not trying to extract free labor, but deposit valuable muscle memory into him. Because of this training, Daniel wins the karate tournament, the heart of the prettiest girl at school, and the respect of all those bullies. In scripture we often see God asking people to do things that don’t make sense. After promising Abraham the he would become the father of a nation, God asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac. Can you imagine what was going through his head? “But God… how is this relevant to your promise? This doesn’t make any sense!” It might have seemed like God was extracting a sacrifice from Abraham, but in fact he was depositing a testimony. He wasn’t going to just make Abraham the father of A nation, he was to make Abraham the father of THE nation through which the messiah would come and save the world. Developing a relationship with God can be terrifying at times. You learn to hear his voice and he often asks you to do things that don’t make sense. It can feel more comfortable to depend on principles and rules, rather than relationship. Daniel started learning karate from magazines before he met Mr Miyagi. All the lessons in the magazines made sense. But it was only when the true master taught him to wax on & wax off, that Daniel could achieve victory. Lord, I just want to hear your voice. I just want to know you and your will. Even if it doesn’t make sense to me now, I commit to obey because I know you love me and everything you ask of me is for my benefit. Please speak Lord… In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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