I shared this story with a group a few years back and someone said, “I was so thankful you explained that word because it sounds like something to do with drug paraphernalia. I laughed but refused to stop using this innocent word my dad coined many years ago. He thought of it first!! It’s his word.
Today is the day before the 12 days before Christmas. When our kids were little, they got to have a special surprise each of the 12 days proceeding Christmas. Before they left for School, they would come running downstairs to see what this ‘day of Christmas’ had in store for them. There were no lords leaping and absolutely no partridges in a pear tree, but there were little tokens that I knew would make them smile each morning. It was part of the traditions in our particular family- we each shared this feeling of belonging in our family. How great is the love that the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God.” (- I John 3:1) He knows us better than we know ourselves and he gives us what we need to make us smile each morning. We are belongers in the family of God.
How great is that to be called children of God? Almost unimaginable really, but it is true! In fact, the Bible also says, “You are members of God’s very own family, and you belong with every other member” (Ephesians 2:19 LB). Everyone wants to belong to a family. It’s the common thread that weaves us together- to belong and to be loved. Belongers!!! When my brother, sister and I were growing up my Dad had a nickname for us. He called us by our names and added “bonger” after our name. You might ask what in the world does that mean and you can imagine we probably asked the same question at one time. Sadly, I think we were embarrassingly old when we finally stopped and said, “Daddy, what is a bonger?” He laughed a deep belly laugh as if he had been waiting for when we would finally wonder and ask. The word was really belonger but due to one of us not being able to say our L’s it evolved into the endearing family made up word “bonger”. Daddy would explain to us that we were a precious belonger in this family. “Sheri bonger”(belonger), “Mark bonger”(belonger), “Gina bonger”(belonger). That communicated volumes, it said you are loved and wanted and needed and you belong to this family. “I am your father and you are my children.” It marked us as one of my mom and dad’s children. We belonged. What security and richness was given to us at a young age that followed us into our whole lives because of the principle that was imparted in such a simple yet profound way. You’re a belonger! Guess what, so are you. You bonger you! Hello to my fellow “Bonger.” Please read this passage out loud today and let these words pour over you and become who you are in everything you do and say.
Colossians 3:12-21 “ Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which bind them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the father through him.”
Prayer: “You are members of God’s very own family, and you belong with every other member” (Ephesians 2:19 LB). Father, thank you for calling us your children and for allowing us to belong to your family. Help us be faithful with the riches we have been given as joint heirs with Jesus in His kingdom. We pray for compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Let us bear with each other and forgive each other as you have forgiven us. Most of all, let us put on love knowing this will bind us together in perfect unity. Lord, give us your peace and gratefulness as we praise you Jesus. Give us strong families that would honor you in everything we say and do to your glory. Give us the mind of Christ to know that we truly are “bongers.”