Get Busy Living!

We just finished a rather depressing 6-week study of Ecclesiastes in our adult Bible study groups. Some say, Solomon with all his wisdom, possessions and power seems to be "in a funk" about life while others say he was just advising younger people about how to avoid some of the mistakes he had made and was warning them to always keep God "in the equation" of life. I think his purpose reflects a little of both. He is vindicated by the critics of his depressive tone when he concludes in the final chapter that what is required for a full and meaningful life is to simply, "Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man" (12:13, ESV).

I saw an interesting license plate on the way into town recently. It was a shortened version of a two-word maxim - "Busy Living." I like the word "busy" and since retiring that is precisely what I have tried to be. It makes me feel productive with my life when I am working on several "projects" at once. I still love to check boxes on my daily to-do list. I often communicate with my grown children who are quite busy with their families and end our conversations with this maxim and I hope, encouraging greeting for them to have a "kplr productive day!" This comes from a family value statement of my Dad who used to brag, "I don't need an alarm clock in the morning! My obligations get me up!" Being busy and productive was instilled in me very early on!
Flickr: Creative Commons Photo

I ran into an old friend this week who is semi-retired. He has been skilled in the field of physical therapy for years and now does contract home health care. He likes to mow yards on the side and enthusiastically says about his yard work, "I get paid to exercise!" My Dad's yard is on his weekly list of customers. This friend is also a bi-vocational pastor for an open country church in East Bond County. He has been serving them for over four years now. By his own admission, he says, "I like to keep busy!" I know what he means and I bless it!

Back in the mid 90's our boys watched and re-watched a movie cult favorite, The Shawshank Redemption, with Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins. This graphic prison film featured Robbins who played an incarcerated banker, Andy Dufresne, who was accused of murder and was serving a life sentence. This educated and model prisoner was admired by the other inmates and even the guards as he quietly persevered in serving out his sentence.

One of the signature and memorable quotes from that film was when Dufresne responded to his fellow prisoners' inquiries about how he was able to remain so cool under such adverse and inhumane circumstances, "Yeah, right. That's the way it is. It's down there and I'm here. I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying." I heard something similarly stated recently by a radio preacher who commented, "If you're not ready to die, you're not ready to live and as a child of God you ought to be ready to live and die" (Adrian Rogers).

Enjoying our lives and living them out in this world should not be a struggle that causes us pain, pessimism or resignation. The Westminister Shorter Catechism, 1647, states the goal of our lives very succinctly in a question and answer, "What is the chief end of man? Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever." Paul said to the Corinthians, "So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all (bold and italics added for emphasis!) to the glory of God" (10:31). Let's keep busy living... to His Glory! Amen!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.


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