This is not about money but about time. In financial terms, however, a bonus is not something we have earned on our own. It is a gift, so to speak, over and beyond normal expectations or what is due. The word comes from the Latin meaning “good.”
Most of us who are enjoying the breath of life have a bonus of time for which we are responsible to God. Any of us could have been miscarried, aborted, stillborn, or any number of accidents or illness-related things could have befallen us in childhood and throughout our lives. Some of us are cancer survivors, like myself. Many of us are privileged to be living in what I call the summit season of our lives, our advanced calendar years. All of us have a bonus of some kind which we are spending or squandering.
Good King Hezekiah whose story is recorded in the Old Testament, was an exemplary monarch who “did right in the sight of the Lord,” and who apparently suffered a terminal illness. Not having Medicare or any kind of Affordable Care, he received the prophetic word through Isaiah who told him it was a sickness unto death and he should set his house in order.
The king had a pouting pity party and “turned his face to the wall and wept sore.” Some of us have been there, done that. He pleaded with God to extend his time on earth. God answered his prayer and gave him a bonus of fifteen more years.
However, through a series of grave and unwise decisions all the good he had done in his lifetime of serving the Lord and establishing the righteous kingdom of Judah was totally undone starting with his son who was born during Hezekiah's bonus years. He was as wicked as his father was good. Second Kings chapter twenty-two recounts all the wicked things he and the next several generations of his family did when they restored idol worship again. Not only were the king's bonus years wasted but God's judgment fell upon his family and his nation for years to come as they were forced into exile to Babylon.
A bonus of a prolonged lifetime is not “mad money” to spend on ourselves or to neglect or waste. The extended years are a precious treasure which God intends to be invested for Him.
We each have a unique sphere of influence for God in our immediate family, friends, community, and church. We all have an influence far beyond that through our prayers which continue to be powerful even after we have completed our earthly journey. We have the obligation, privilege, and joy of praying for our children and our children's children, even for progeny not yet born, that they will know God and walk in His ways of righteousness and truth. God operates in the eternal and the ever-present so our prayers are efficacious and everlasting, not subject to time.
Our summit years are not granted us to be wasted drifting spiritually and excusing ourselves from involvement in God's Kingdom since we are “full of years” or have done our part and deserve to take it easy. There will be plenty of time to rest in the Courts of Heaven later. Although we may have to pace down our activities through gradual, normal decline of strength and energy, let's keep our prayer power tuned up and our hearts and minds and spirits tuned to the continuing will of God and His purpose for our lives all the way to the Finish Line.
Our progeny will either feel the effects of our faithful prayers or suffer the consequences of our “Hezekiah-like” wasted bonus years.