Mauricio Paredes

Mauricio "Manny" Paredes

Growing up in my 20s, I used to take pride in how busy I was. Starting my day early by going to work, hitting the gym, spending time with family and friends, and going to bed late were medals that I proudly wore on my chest. I also volunteered in various groups and departments at my church, from being a youth group leader, singing with the choir, and playing guitar with the band. These were great times for me and I learned a lot. But the thing about the human body is, it needs to rest. Any doctor, personal trainer, or grandparent will tell you that your body needs to rest, your mind needs to recharge, and your soul needs to be re-fueled often. 

I like to work on our house. There is always a project to do (benefits of living in a 108-year-old home). If you were to think that I am a very busy person, you would’ve been right a few years ago. As of late, I’ve learned to keep God’s fourth commandment. Let me remind you of what that is:

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” -Exodus 20:8 ESV

Believe me, it’s very easy to go through the motions of life with our tanks empty, fueled by the vapors of pride and fear. That’s why it is very important to note that God commands us to rest. At first, this was presented to me as the idea of honoring God. Since the Lord rested after He created everything, as we read about in the book of Genesis, we should imitate this same action. But in recent years, I learned of another reason why we are commanded to rest. 

As we read the first three commandments in Exodus 20, we see that God commands us to worship Him and Him alone, to not make any idols or to serve any other gods. He then commands us to keep the Sabbath day. I believe there is a perfectly good reason for this: work can become an idol. We can become so invested in our jobs, projects, and endeavors that we place God to the side, trusting in our own abilities and skills to get us through life and worshiping the labor of our hands.

I have a natural tendency to need to know everything. I often fill my time with finding facts about people, music, or history, and I do so with the intention of being ready for anything. One never knows when an impromptu trivia night will occur. But this is very exhausting and tiring; I fill any free time I get with meaningless trivia that may or may not be appreciated! I live in fear of not knowing, so I make it a point to learn. But these actions of mine don’t bring honor to God because I’m not even spending time with Him. I’m so preoccupied with what may occur one day that I don’t see what I can be enjoying now: I can be enjoying God’s presence and sovereignty. I believe that this is how we honor God with our rest, by trusting Him completely. Just as Psalms 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (ESV).

Maybe knowledge is not be your idol; maybe it’s working long hours and overtime to build up your nest egg. If God is calling us to trust Him, that might look like you choosing not to work weekends, and instead, choosing to spend time with the one who says He will supply all your needs (Matthew 6:33 comes to mind).

I can’t help but notice that the times when we are most vulnerable is when we are resting, whether it be sleeping for hours, or the weekly anticipated Sundar afternoon nap. I think that — in order to fully trust God — we need to allow ourselves to be vulnerable in our everyday lives. I believe that this shows God that we fully trust Him. That, as we rest in Him, we acknowledge that the world continues to spin, our phones will continue to ring, our kids will continue to throw things, and the Lord is still in control.

So, let’s take the fourth commandment seriously — turn off our working minds for a time, and choose to rest in the one who holds all things.

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

 

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