Mauricio Paredes

Mauricio "Manny" Paredes

I recently asked my father to help me with a few “honey do’s” that I was given (or should I say, my wife and I agreed upon). One of these items was to inspect the air duct system underneath our house. I kept putting this item off for several reasons: 1. I don’t like spiders, 2. We have a crawl space underneath our very old home, so I would need to get on my elbows and knees and army crawl the entire time, and 3. I REALLY don’t like spiders. 

The day had come and — needless to say — I’m glad that we took the time to do this task. What my father and I discovered was a hole in a drainage pipe that had been leaking for what seemed like weeks. There was mud around that area and it didn’t smell very pleasant. After a quick trip to Home Depot, the problem was permanently fixed.

A few weeks ago, I read the book of Nehemiah and was reminded of that leak underneath our house. Nehemiah felt that he was called to leave his position as the cupbearer to the king and lead God’s people back to Jerusalem. There, they would rebuild the gates that had been destroyed in a previous siege. Nehemiah led God’s people in doing a work that needed to be complete; the gates lay in ruins.

I find that God calls us out of our comfort zone in order to do a work in us, as well as through us. Nehemiah had a great job. He had a position where he was taken care of. But upon hearing that the gates of Jerusalem needed to be rebuilt, he asked God for favor and strength. He decided to leave his comfort and certainty in order to complete a job he knew had to be done.

Believe me when I say that — if you follow Jesus Christ and try your best to live His way — He will take you down roads you may not be so enthusiastic to travel. Jesus is interested in molding you and shaping you into the person you were created to be. Of course, you are accepted and loved just the way you are right now, but Jesus has better things and plans for you; plans that you may not be ready for yet. 

What is God calling you to work on? Maybe it’s establishing a routine so you can spend more time with your family. Maybe it’s taking initiative at work on tasks you know you have insight on. Maybe it’s talking to a family member that you’ve been ignoring for several years, bridging the gap, and making amends. It could be waking up early in order to spend time with your Creator.

As you begin to do the work, you may find that there’s more work to be done. Just like Nehemiah, you may face opposition or resistance you didn’t foresee. You may find that something else needs to be done, like looking deep inside and questioning your old beliefs. But don’t be afraid to do the work and don’t be discouraged while doing it.

I love how Nehemiah begins his prayer in chapter 1 verse 5: “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandment…” – ESV

The prayer goes on, and I encourage you to read it, as Nehemiah prays to the God who “keeps covenant.” If God has called you to do something and you stopped, He hasn’t forgotten about you. He is still there, ready to show us the work that needs to be done within us, around us, and the work He wants to do through us.

Mauricio Paredes is the Junior High Pastor at Koinonia Church. He can be reached at manny@kchanford.com or at 559-582-1528.

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