In the movie Shawshank Redemption, Andy was talking to Red about his dream of living in Mexico on the Pacific. Red told Andy there was no way he could live his dream. He was in prison for the rest of his life. Andy said, ‘I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.’ He escaped prison.
By Pastor Delbert Young
Get Busy Living
Get Busy Living
Scriptures: Acts 2:17-18, Matthew 6:33, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 12:2, Judges 6:11, Judges 6:12, Judges 8:28
Acts 2:17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
Acts 2:18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.
In the movie Shawshank Redemption, Andy was wrongly incarcerated for murdering his wife and the man in which she was having an affair. Andy was condemned to two consecutive life sentences. He was to be in prison for the remainder of his life. After many years of imprisonment, Andy was talking to Red about his dream of living in Mexico on the Pacific. Red told Andy that there was no was no way that he could live his dream. He was in prison for the rest of his life. Andy said, “I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.”
What I want to tell you as we end this series is to GET BUSY LIVING. Don’t spend the rest of your life in a prison that society has put you in. It’s time to plan your escape. You may have to crawl through a sewer to get to your dream, but isn’t it worth it? It was for Andy.
Harry Kemp said, “The poor man is not he who is without a cent, but he who is without a dream.”
A different way of saying that is that the poor man or woman is the person who refuses to escape and pursue his or her dream.
WHAT IS IT THAT STOPS MOST PEOPLE from chasing their dream? Often it’s because the enemy has imprisoned us in a “thing-centered-life.” The enemy uses society to mold us back and form us. We know that we should live a “God-centered-life,” but in reality, things imprison us much more than we want to admit.
In a thing-centered-life, one spouse wants one thing and the other wants another thing. She wants new carpet and furniture. He wants a boat. Eventually things trap us. In a God-centered-life, he wants the dream and she wants the dream. As they move toward the dream that God has given them, God adds things.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Henry David Thoreau said, “If one advances confidently in the direction of their dreams, and endeavors to lead a life which they have imagined, they will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
My point is that you need to escape prison and GET BUSY LIVING. Someplace along the way you must believe that God will really give you things if you seek what he wants you to do first.
DID YOU SET OUT TO BE WHAT YOU ARE? Most of us evolved into what we have become. Had most people handpicked their lives, they would not be what they have become. We allow the world to form us. Many people are thermometers instead of thermostats. They allow their environment to raise or lower their lives instead of them controlling their environment. I want to encourage you today to take control and reach for your dream. Turn the heat up a little on your life. Now is the time. You will never be younger. The time will never be better to begin reaching. It’s time to GET BUSY LIVING.
DO YOU HAVE ANY REGRETS when you look back at your life? Are there things you would have done differently so you could have lived a different life and become something else? Do you feel at some point you should have turned right, but you went left instead? If so, then don’t wait another day. You can still do it. Do you need more education? Get it. Do you want to try your own business? Prepare and try it. Don’t come to the end of your days, look back at life, and have regrets.
Today the Lord is encouraging you to GET BUSY LIVING.
“WHEN THE CHAINS OF OUR ACCEPTED CIRCUMSTANCES ARE BROKEN OUR DREAMS EMERGE.” 
It was 7:30 a.m. I was the third shift overseer at a large textile plant. It had been a rough shift. We had been problems with an automatic sweeper/blower that refused to work until about 7:25 a.m. My superior, his superior, and I were walking through the plant doing the routine shift change inspection and I feared what was coming. Though I had relayed to them the problems I had experienced with the sweeper, I knew that I was about to be sharply rebuked. The sweeper was now working, but was blowing lint and cotton everywhere. It looked as though the floor had not been swept during my watch. As we came into the large area of which the sweeper was responsible, the rebuke began. “What is this?” “Why is that?” “This is horrible.” “You should have done…” “Why didn’t you…?” I was tired and, to me, the condition of the area was entirely understandable. However, it wasn’t to my superior’s superior. I became aggravated not only at the person who was now yelling at me, but also at my superior who was not helping me out with that guy. After several minutes of his yelling in the middle of a textile plant with my employees and others watching, I found myself with my right fist clenched, positioned and braced to throw a punch. I had even selected a spot in the middle of his face where the punch would land. I was gnashing my teeth. I don’t think I am capable of being angrier. I was about to punch my boss’s boss. I was about to be fired and marked for the rest of my working life. I had been known to do stupid things like that before in years past, but I was now a Christian. I was a deacon in our local church. I taught Sunday school. It must have been obvious that I was about to send a punch because the man turned and walked away. A short time later, I was in my automobile heading home. I remember thinking, “Why would an intelligent grown man make such an issue over a floor sweeper breaking down that I, nor anyone else in our company could fix?” I also remember thinking, “Man, I just about messed up. I came within a few seconds of punching that guy.” I pondered those thoughts and I had a revelation. That guy was created to make that company and specifically, that plant work. That was his passion. That was not my passion. I was not created to make that shift or that plant work. It was then that it dawned on me that I didn’t have a passion for what I was doing with my life. I was spending the best part of my life doing something that meant nothing more than a paycheck to me.
That’s not to say that a paycheck is bad by any means. I appreciate the twenty years that company provided me with a paycheck. I purchased a house, boat, automobiles, insurance, clothing, raised two children, etc. with that paycheck. But what I was doing with my life was not my passion. It did not make my heart beat fast. It did not add fire to my life. In fact, it put water on the fire I did have. That was evident with the confrontation I had just experienced with my superiors.
It was then, that day that a big confirmation came to me. I decided I would GET BUSY LIVING. That which I had just experienced was not what I wanted to ever experience again. That was not what I was created to do. I wasn’t exactly certain what I was created to do, but I knew that wasn’t it. I began seriously planning my escape. A few years later, I gave my notice to my same superior who relayed the message to his same superior. I was summoned to his office. He discouraged me from leaving and then said something to the order of “when you find this doesn’t work out, come back and I will give you your job back.” He told me what a great job I had done and how the company would miss me. I thanked him and let it go at that. I wanted to say to him, “Do you remember the sweeper / blower day?” I didn’t, but I did escape. A few years later, the plant closed down.
The point of that story is to encourage you to find your passion. If what you are doing with your life doesn’t fire your heart, then aim your life at what does or what will. One day the Lord will break the chains of your accepted circumstances and your dream will emerge. You can GET BUSY LIVING.
YOU CAN’T PLAY IT SAFE AND CHASE YOUR DREAM. Do you realize that we are more vulnerable to the enemy’s deception when we play it safe? What I mean is our lives would not advance and the kingdom of God would not advance if we only play it safe. This church would not be here if we had played it safe. I would not be here if I had played it safe. No one in the Bible would have fulfilled their destinies had they played it safe. Abraham would have stayed in Haran. Jacob would have not gotten the birthright or he would have continued working for his uncle Laban. David would have never killed Goliath. Paul would have remained a Pharisee and Jesus would have never gone to the cross. The Bible is full of people who stepped out and took a chance. I encourage you today to be a Bible person. Take a chance and GET BUSY LIVING.
Isn’t it interesting that our favorite Bible characters were chance takers? Something brought them to a place of pursuing their dreams. They escaped status quo. They escaped prison. Interestingly, though each one had been molded into being what they had become by their society, they were each able to allow a recreation into what they were born to be. Moses was molded by society to watch Jethro’s sheep, but he was recreated to be a great leader. Joshua was molded by his society to be a slave to Egypt, but he was recreated to become the great commander of the armies of God. Society had molded Peter into a fisherman, but he was recreated into an apostle of Jesus Christ. Pick any character you like. Society molded them one way, but they escaped and GOT BUSY LIVING. They were recreated.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
(NLT) What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!
We are taught to think that only “spiritual” things will change. But the verse says “ALL THINGS.”
(NLT) Romans 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.
GET BUSY LIVING. Life changes when we become a Christ follower. The desire to be “things-centered” will change when our thinking changes. Society’s molding us into what it wants ceases. We are recreated into what will bring us true joy and happiness.
Remember the story about Gideon? Gideon had been molded by his society to be an insignificant frightened man. He lived in a time of oppression.
Judges 6:11 Then the angel of the LORD came and sat beneath the oak tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash had been threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites.
Judges 6:12 The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the LORD is with you!”
Society had taken Gideon and made him to be “thing-centered.” Gideon was in his hole, peeking around looking for the next Midianite to come and take his little flour. Gideon was more like a scared rabbit hiding in a hole than he was a “Mighty hero.” What kind of a mighty hero was that? However, God wanted to recreate Gideon into a “Mighty hero.”
Society had taken me and molded me into a shift overseer at a textile plant. I was hiding in my hole looking for the next bill collector. There is nothing wrong with being a shift supervisor at a textile plant, but that was not the way God saw me. God saw a pastor. God saw a teacher of his word.
I want to encourage you today. God sees you as a mighty hero. God does not want you hiding in a hole beating out a little flour. He wants you to live an abundant life. God has a plan for your life. He sees you as a mighty hero. He has something planned especially for you. Break out of your prison and GET BUSY LIVING.
The Bible tells us that the Lord took that scared rabbit Gideon who was hiding in a hole and recreated him into a mighty hero. Gideon became victorious again and again. Gideon escaped his prison. He changed from a life of defeat to a life of victory.
Judges 8:28 Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon’s lifetime, the land enjoyed peace forty years.
Gideon became a new creature. He lived an entirely different life than society and the enemy had formed Gideon into. Gideon began seeing himself as God saw him. Gideon GOT BUSY LIVING.
I no longer see myself as a shift overseer at a textile plant. I haven’t for some time. Today, I see myself as a pastor and a teacher of God’s word. I see myself as one who brings comfort and life to people. I see myself more the way God sees me. Today I can tell you why I was created. I GOT BUSY LIVING.
This is what the Lord has planned for you also. I want to encourage you today to begin seeing yourself as God sees you. Begin saying out loud what and who you are. Begin saying what God says you are.
Acts 2:17 said that God’s people will prophecy concerning their dream and vision. Learn to prophecy to your dream. Begin saying to your dream:
> God made me to live an abundant life.
> God made me special.
> God made me with unique talents.
> God made me to dream big dreams.
> God made me smart.
> God made me to be happy.
> God made me to be a hero.
> God made me to have the favor of the Lord.
> God made me to have a full life.
Tell you a joke. A man ordered a pizza in a pizza place. A cook asked, “Do you want that pizza cut into six or eight pieced?” The customer said, “Six – I don’t think I could eat eight.” God gives us a big life. We determine how it is sliced and how much of it we will eat. Get full on it. GET BUSY LIVING.
There is a dream in your heart. God put it there when you were in your mother’s womb. Seek first his kingdom and he will add things that you haven’t even asked for. Don’t allow society to form your life. Break out of prison. People who live the full life don’t “play it safe.” God wants to take us to the abundant life. Live the new life that is recreated by God. Be all that you can be. Reach for your dream. It is your dream given you by God. Go for it. Don’t hide in hole allowing the enemy to control you. Be what God created you to be. If you will, you will live the abundant life that is rightfully yours and that Jesus came to give you. You will GET BUSY LIVING.
Amen? How many are here today that desire to GET BUSY LIVING? How many will chase your dream? Give the Lord a shout and a handclap.
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