In my sermon a few weeks ago I told the story of my friend Harvey Michael, who was headed for Japan on a Navy troop ship during World War II, certain that he was going to die in combat, when—to his amazement—the war ended, the ship turned around, and he found himself the owner of a life he never thought he would have—a “bonus life.’ He said he thought he should do something good with it and decided that he would either be a Baptist preacher or a high school English teacher.
The preaching didn’t work out.
So, for most of his life he was a high school English teacher, and a good one, but the thing I admired most about him was the way he lived his life, as if each day were a gift. I told his story in my sermon on December 23 and then, a few days ago, got this letter from Deborah Hocutt, one of our newer members:
I’ve listened to your message on the “bonus life” over and over. Oh, how I wish it would sink into the hearts of those at FBC and beyond!
For over twenty years I have been living that “bonus life.” Knowing that the doctors had never seen anyone survive with stage 4 cervical cancer like mine, I am keenly aware of what a God-given miracle each day is for me, and that each “bonus day” is an opportunity to give back to God by being His human arms to embrace, and His human smile to show love and compassion. I don’t take this responsibility lightly but with much love and gratitude.
If others could, just for a moment, know what it’s like to live “God Days”—that bonus time—oh, how we would see heaven on earth! So don’t stop shouting it from the rooftops. Don’t stop praying and witnessing. Don’t stop talking about a bonus life!!!
OK, Deborah. I’ll keep talking about it. You keep living it. And let’s see if we can find some others who will use their “bonus lives” to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond, Virginia. Maybe some of them will comment on this blog, and tell us what they’re up to.