“I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy livin' or get busy dyin'.”
Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption
This line of dialogue in 1994’s The Shawshank Remption marks a turning point in the journey of the main character, Andy Dufresne. Dufresne is an innocent man serving an extended prison sentence. In this scene, Dufresne decides not to accept the injustice of his situation; he decides to “get busy livin’”.
This scene causes me to ask the questions, “Am I getting busy living? Are there wrongs and injustices that I am accepting?”
Luke Chapter 19 causes me to ask similar questions: “Am I accepting the status quo? Or am I being an agent of change and the hands of God’s love in this world?”
In the first section, we witness the transformation of Zacchaeus, a tax collector who was known to cheat and steal from the people. He meets Jesus and instantly declares he will make amends to those he has cheated and also will give a significant amount of his fortune to the poor.
Then Jesus tells the parable of the Minas. It's a use-it-or-lose-it passage. The nobleman in the parable is Jesus and his followers are entrusted with a gift to put into practice for God’s kingdom. Jesus is saying that spiritual development must be sought after and practiced or we will whither spiritually. In the midst of this, Jesus moves toward and enters into Jerusalem, a reminder that Jesus actively plays His part in God’ plan...there is no turning back or sitting around and waiting.
Then Jesus clears the temple, saying “My house is the house of prayer: but you have made it a den of thieves.” Jesus tells the established religious leaders "no". He is saying, “Your religion may pay lip service to God but you have missed the mark spiritually and you are degrading the worship of God.”
And He continued to teach, spreading the work and word of God.
It is chapter of action. And it should compel us to action.
We need ask to ourselves: are we like Zacchaeus…so moved by the presence of Jesus that we are spurred towards acts of mercy and justice? Are we like the faithful servants…wisely and fearlessly growing our faith? Are we like Jesus…obediently moving forward, guided by God’s will and plan? Or are we the thieving taxman, the unfaithful servant, the moneychangers in the temple.
I pray that we all remember our salvation not as a point in our past but an active part of our now as we move through a world that desperately needs a change to the status quo, a change that the love of God brings.
And Jesus said to him, "This day is salvation come to this house, as much as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." - Luke 19:9-10