Day 16: Get Busy Living

If you’ve never seen the classic movie The Shawshank Redemption (1994), then you ought to–tonight. Earning seven Oscar nominations, it easily makes its way into my top five favorite movies of all time. (FYI: The movie does have an “R” rating for language and prison violence.)

It’s the story of a young banker named Andy Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins, who is unlawfully accused of murdering his wife and her lover. He quickly finds himself convicted and serving two life-sentences at Shawshank Prison in Maine with no hope of parole. He is slow to adapt to prison life, never really fitting in, and even struggles to find his place in the hierarchy of criminals. One day, he becomes endeared to a man named Ellis Redding, known to all as “Red,” played by Morgan Freeman.

Andy learns that Red is the man “who knows how to get things” on the inside, and he approaches Red to make a simple request. After Red meets Andy, he thinks to himself: “I could see why some of the boys took him for snobby; he had a quiet way about him. A walk and a talk that just wasn’t normal around here. He strolled, like a man in a park without a care or worry in the world. Like he had an invisible coat that shielded him from this place. Yeah…I think it’d be fair to say, I liked Andy from the start.”

The story is wonderfully woven with the rare moments of beauty and humanity mixed in with the harsh realities of tragedy and corruption that no doubt accompany any prison system.  Nevertheless, Andy’s demeanor and unyielding sense of hope cause his fellow inmates, especially Red, to take a deeper look at themselves and the world around them. It’s this inspiring message of hope and redemption–two of humanities most basic, yet powerful, needs–that make this story so compelling.

This five-minute clip highlights the theme of hope in the movie. As you watch it, think about where Andy’s hope comes from. Watch the faces of the inmates around him as he describes it. Watch the change that happens in Red over time:

It’s beautiful, isn’t it? It moves me.

The message of hope in the Shawshank Redemption mimics the one found in St. Peter’s letter to first century Christians suffering persecution under Roman rule (1 Peter 1:3-9). The encouragement is to “get busy living” according to the hope of salvation we find through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

So then, today, can you put words to that deep hope that lives inside you?

Are you brave enough to share it with someone around you?  (Know that a hope shared might just save a life along the way–like Red!)

How would your life look different if you “got busy living?”

Lord God, thank you for your great mercy that you would grant any of us to be born again to such a living hope. Help the Point University family be a community that is able to verbalize that hope, is brave enough to share that hope with each other and the world, and is willing to live like that hope makes a difference. By your grace and for your glory, may it be so.

Written by Chris Beirne, Director of University Relations