Sand the floors. Paint the fence. Wax On. Wax off.

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When God asks you if you are ready to follow him and you reply that you are, don’t be surprised if it means that you are then lining fields for soccer, sweeping roads, moving furniture, giving cookies, writing encouraging notes, and doing other, what seems to be, menial jobs.

Sand the floors. Paint the fence. Wax On. Wax off.

In the classic 80s version of the Karate Kid – the one where they used karate rather than kung fu – Mr. Miyagi used little tasks to train Daniel to be the Karate Kid. Likewise, we must realize that God, even in our littlest tasks, is at work. He’s shaping us into who He wants us to be.

We might get frustrated at times. “God, I’ve given away kid’s clothes. God, I’ve worked to mend the broken relationship. God, I’ve sent encouraging letters. Where God? Where, oh where is the meaning in all of this?”

But we must remain focused even when it seems pointless. God is at work, shaping us and those around us into who He wants us to be. Becoming our destined self cannot be realized until we live faithfully today in all of the little things that God calls us to do. We must stay focused on the mission that God has placed on our hearts and realize the truth that Mr. Miyagi taught Daniel-san, “Not everything is as seems.”

When Hernan Cortes came to what is now Mexico to conquer the New World, he burnt the ships that he and his army came on. This stranded his expedition at Mexico and brought us the phrase “burn your ships.” The idea is that you make your success essential. There is no escape. There is no retreat. Success is the only option.

Cortes placed his soldiers in a place where there would be no going back quickly. They would either win or die. They had to remain focused on the task at hand or there would be no future for them.

When Lot’s wife was being rescued from Sodom, she looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. When she longed for the life she once had and lost focus on God’s plan, she faced a terrible punishment.

When it comes to the mission of the Lord, are we more like Cortes, focused on God’s mission no matter what the cost, or are we more like Lot’s wife, longing for the life we have left behind? Those who do not remain focused on God and refuse to do all of the tasks he prompts our hearts to do will not receive the blessing of actualizing our calling.

We each have a mission under God. One, we need to pursue with as much passion as those who once literally burnt their ships. One we must allow to permeate even the little things we do in life.

And it begins with Christ.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:1-3 (ESV)

Corrie Ten Boom  wrote, “Look … Look around and be distressed. Look inside and be depressed. Look at Jesus and be at rest.”

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Oh, how the earth tries to grab our attention. We know people who die. Boom. We despair.  We have pains in our body. Boom. Like an explosion, we’re focused on it. We face terrible situations. Boom. We’re distressed. Our money doesn’t stretch as far as we would like. Boom. We’re depressed.

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

How does our relationship with Jesus impact our reading habits? Our internet habits? Our movie watching habits? The time we spend with friends? Our work habits? Our family life? Our dreams? Our hopes? Our parenting? Our grandparenting? If it does not change every area of our life, then we need to convert to following Jesus. No lip service, no confession, no baptism, nor any amount of  church attendance can compensate for a heart unwilling to change. God is not fooled.

Unfortunately, the way we relate to Him when we compartmentalize Him is skewed. In that setting, He is not our Lord. He’s not Savior. He’s not King. He’s just a celebrity that we like. He’s just a book writer who entertains. He’s just an entertainer who makes us think. But when His teachings get difficult, we just shove Him back into the compartment we have for Him. We’ll let him out when we want him again. But for the meanwhile, we’ll lock Him away so that He can’t meddle with our life.

Sand the floors. Paint the fence. Wax On. Wax off.

We have a Lord to serve.

May we each have the courage, strength, and grace to follow Christ completely.