One of the iconic moments in Karate Kid is the wax on, wax off lesson. Daniel, the main character, is expecting to be taught karate by Miyagi, his master. But Miyagi keeps giving him seemingly menial tasks such as cleaning and waxing his car using a “wax on, wax off” motion. Before long, Daniel has had enough and questions his master’s training. Only for Miyagi to show him that every menial task he’s given him has taught him an essential karate move.
Regardless of what field you’re in, there’s probably an element of repetition in the things you do and the people you engage with on a daily basis. Sometimes, it’s the same script but different cast. Other times, it’s a different script but same cast. But after a while, it can start to feel like you get up every morning to do some semblance of the same thing.
As believers, there’s an additional sense of dealing with the same things when it comes to our faith and spirituality at work. Going out of your way to be cordial and civil with that person who’s just mean and messy to be around; forgiving that colleague for sending you on yet another tour under the bus; honouring that boss who’s frankly not the best of leaders; going above and beyond what your job description entails even though you don’t get paid enough for what your job entails much less the additional work you do.
There are things God requires us to continually do that more often than not can end up feeling like a waste of time and effort. Especially if we have to keep doing them for an extended period of time with no apparent and immediate change of circumstance.
But what if the path that seems to lead to nowhere is in fact the very thing that leads us right to where God wants us; right to where we need to be in order to get what we’ve been trusting God for.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
– Romans 5:3-5 ESV
Just because we can’t yet see the transformation that our perseverance is birthing in us and in our lives, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. What may look like menial tasks to us are the very things that God is using to sanctify and consecrate us into deeper relationship with Him and to equip us to steward every blessing He has in store for us.
May He find us faithful with our every day, when no one seems to be looking and there’s no spotlight, red carpet or applause waiting for us.
Wax on, wax off.