Anyone who grew up in the eighties remembers the instructions to wax on, wax off of Mr. Miyagi to his pupil Daniel LaRusso (played by Ralph Macchio), in the original Karate Kid movie. At first it seemed like Daniel was asked to perform a series of meaningless tasks by his mentor. Reluctantly Daniel agrees to do whatever Mr Miyagi asks, simply because he knows without the instruction of this man he has no hope.
His respect for Mr Miyagi causes him to obey instructions that do not seem to make sense at the time. Only, after some time, in a moment of fear and frustration does Daniel begin to doubt his mentor. He complains that it does not make sense. He is not learning. He is not growing. He is ill prepared for what lay ahead. Just at the moment when he wonders if he has made a mistake trusting Mr Miyagi, he learns that all his work has not been in vain. Wax on, wax off is a defence. As Mr Miyagi throws a flurry of punches at Daniel, the student begins to understand that his master has been preparing him all along.
His obedience was not in vain. This is an apt description of discipleship. Jesus said, “if you love Me, you will keep My commandments”. I have never read this as a test, but a simple declaration of what you expect to see of someone who loves Jesus. This is what you do when you respect and trusts another. You take them at their word, and dare to believe that they have your best interests in mind.
At times to follow Jesus can feel like ‘wax on, wax off’. His commands don’t always make sense at the time. We wonder if there might be something better we could be doing other than ordering our life around Him. Yet, if you dare trust Him and obey Him, I suspect at just the right time you will find He has been preparing you all along for what lay ahead.