In the health insurance industry, the term “enhanced benefit” is used to describe any benefit that is not customary. Enhanced benefits are value added to the customer and are over and above the normal benefits provided. During the 2016–17 Fellowship Bible Study season I experienced an unexpected enhanced benefit. But first, let me tell you about the usual benefits.
When you enroll in a Fellowship Bible Study you can expect to invest personal time each week in an inductive study of God's word. The time invested will reward you with the discovery of rich truth. Another benefit is a welcoming, prepared facilitator who invests her time and effort in preparation and creating an environment that aids learning, discovery and sharing ideas. Encouragement, community and prayer support are also benefits that occur in the weekly commitment to attending the study.
All of the above was indeed my experience in studying Proverbs during the 2016–17 session; however, I also experienced an enhanced benefit. We were halfway into the year when Amy and I talked about her last name being the same as my mother’s maiden name and general tidbits about her husband's childhood. After a few weeks of comparing information it resulted in me discovering a first cousin I never knew – Amy's father-in-law, John. Both John and I had parents who were siblings, and who died very young. Therefore, family connections were fractured over the years and we never met. Amy arranged a meeting at Panera, and we had a nice time sharing family ties. John’s sister is visiting Akron this summer, another discovery of a “long lost” cousin! And, all of these connections also make Amy’s husband my second cousin.
This enhanced benefit to attending a Fellowship Bible Study and finding extended family has been such a blessing, especially 48 years later after my mom’s death. God sure had a surprise ahead when He placed me in my group this year. And to think the connection to mom’s family was right here in my home church!
I encourage you to invest your time in a Fellowship Bible Study for all of the usual benefits, but the Lord may just have an enhanced benefit waiting for you in a new friend, a mentor, or a long-lost relative!
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