Monday, April 3, 2023

Preparing the Disciples for the Crane Kick

Suggested Reading: Luke 10:1-12, Luke 22:35-38

In the original Karate Kid with Ralph Macchio, once his training began with Mr Miyagi, Daniel couldn't wait to learn to kick or punch. He was overly eager to learn those things. But Mr Miyagi insisted on teaching Daniel balance and defense first. From the teacher's viewpoint, those things were foundational and he wanted Daniel to be able to defend himself and maintain his balance before he ever thought of going on offense. Eventually, however, he was allowed to begin kicking and punching and even learned the famous Crane Kick which won the tournament. But without his lessons in balance, Daniel never would have mastered the Crane Kick. He never would have won the tournament.

In the book of Luke, we see a similar dynamic with Jesus and the disciples. While training them, Jesus sends them out in pairs to preach the good news, but he has some special instructions for them. Don’t take any money with you, nor a traveler’s bag, nor an extra pair of sandals. And don’t stop to greet anyone on the road (Luke 10:4, NLT).  But later, as he is preparing to send them out again, knowing he is about to leave them, Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you out to preach the Good News and you did not have money, a traveler’s bag, or an extra pair of sandals, did you need anything?” “No,” they replied. “But now,” he said, “take your money and a traveler’s bag. And if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one!" (Luke 22:35-36, NLT).  Jesus wanted his disciples to have all of the necessary tools for survival, but he wanted all of those tools to be used in an attitude of faith. So the first time he sent them out, he made them rely on God not just for protection but also for food and shelter, because faith is foundational to all we do as believers. Without it, we can never use any of our other tools in the proper fashion.

Sometimes, we get frustrated that God isn't allowing us to do the things we want, that our life isn't moving fast enough. If you find yourself feeling like you are stuck, consider that God may want you to learn something important before you are ready to move forward. Maybe your faith needs to grow, maybe you need to learn a particular skill, maybe you need a particular experience to prepare you for something down the road. As good a trainer as Mr Miyagi was, God is even better.  If you feel like God is holding you back for some reason or another, search for the lesson you need to learn. That lesson may be essential for the rest of your life.

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