We are about to eat dinner, so I am pouring myself a glass of milk ... it's not really a meal at home without milk ... however, before I finish filling the glass, I pause to take a hefty draw from the milk already poured. Then I finish filling my glass, and we are ready to pray and eat. I figure, with that first little bonus 'sip', I am starting my meal with a quenched palate, while also getting an extra 25% out of that one glass of milk.
My wife just gives me one of those "looks" ... oft-times with a comment or two ... waits for me to put the milk bottle back in the fridge, and then says, "Shall we pray?"
There you have a little glance into the Hetzner house. Now I would like you to take a little glance into your own home. I told you of just one "little bonus" in mine. What ones do you find in yours? You don't have to tell me, or the world, about it. I just want you to find it ... acknowledge it ... and enjoy it for what it is ... a special little bonus that adds pleasure to your living. I suspect that, when you really take the time, you will discover that your life is filled with them.
In John 11 Jesus says to Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die." (John 11.25-26) Then, as a "little bonus", Jesus walks over to a tomb and raises Martha's brother from the dead! Now, perhaps you would classify this more than just a "little bonus" ... I acknowledge it is much better than a few swallows of milk ... but I would insist that, when compared to the promise in the preceding verses, the raising of Lazarus from the dead is just that - a little bonus!
In fact, every good thing ... fun time ... happy event ... every laugh, smile and twinkle in our eyes ... every victory ... every celebration ... every sunny day ... every sip of milk ... they all fall into the "little bonus" category.
The Real Prize ... the Priceless Pearl ... the Gift of unimaginable value ... is given to us as Jesus spreads his arms, opens his hands and welcomes the nails as they pierce his palms ... it is given to us as he breaths his last just after sighing, "It is accomplished" ... and then rises - victorious over sin, death and the devil - on the third day. It is given to us in the waters of baptism ... and renewed in us as we receive a small piece of bread and a sip of wine. It is ours as he says to you and me, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die."
Yesterday I was with a couple that has been married 70 years! The husband is in hospice. The family is gathered around, telling seventy years worth of "little bonus" stories. But they wouldn't be recalling them at this time if they had never heard those words of Jesus, nor if the Holy Spirit had not empowered them to say with Martha of old, "Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world." (John 11.27)
So today, as I continue to look for and celebrate those little things in my life, I am also going to be looking for opportunities to uncover God's "little bonuses" to others ... while, I pray, helping them live in the eternal peace and strength of that Priceless Pearl ... as found in those words of Jesus, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die." And, I pray that your day will be filled with the same.