A number of years ago a seminary professor was vacationing with
his wife in Gatlinburg, Tennessee where they were eating
breakfast at a little restaurant, hoping to enjoy a quiet family
While they were waiting for their food, they noticed a
distinguished looking, white-haired man moving from table to
table visiting with the guests. The professor leaned over and
whispered to his wife:
"I hope he doesn't come over here." But sure enough, the man
did come over to their table.
"Where are you folks from?" he asked in a friendly voice.
"Oklahoma," they answered.
"Great to have you here in Tennessee," the stranger said.
"What do you do for a living?"
"I teach at a seminary," he replied.
"Oh, you teach preachers how to preach? Well, I've got a really
great story for you." And with that, the gentleman pulled up a
chair and sat down at the table with the couple.
"See that mountain over there?" (pointing out the restaurant
window). Not far from the base of that mountain, there was a
boy born to an unwed mother. He had a hard time growing up,
because every place he went, he was always asked the same
'Hey boy, Who's your daddy?'
Whether he was at school, in the grocery store or drug store,
people would ask the same question, "Who's your daddy?"
He would hide at recess and lunchtime from other students.
He would avoid going in to stores because that question hurt him
When he was about 12 years old, a new preacher came to his
church. He would always go in late and slip out early to avoid
hearing the question, "Who's your daddy?" But one day, the
new preacher said the benediction so fast he got caught and
had to walk out with the crowd.
Just about the time he got to the back door, the new preacher
not knowing anything about him, put his hand on his shoulder and
"Son, who's your daddy?"
The whole church got deathly quiet. He could feel every eye in
the church looking at him. By now, everyone knew the answer to
the question, 'Who's your daddy?'
This new preacher, though, sensed the situation around him and
using discernment that only the Holy Spirit could give, said the
following to that scared little boy...
'Wait a minute!' he said, 'I know who you are. I see the family
resemblance now. You are a child of God.'
With that he patted the boy on his shoulder and said:
'Boy, you've got a great inheritance. Go and claim it.'
With that, the boy smiled for the first time in a long time
and walked out the door a changed person. He was never the same
again. Whenever anybody asked him, 'Who's your Daddy?' he'd
just tell them,
'I'm a Child of God.'
The distinguished gentleman got up from the table and said,
"Isn't that a great story?"
The professor responded that it really was a great story!
As the man turned to leave, he said,
"You know, if that new preacher hadn't told me that I was one of
God's children, I probably never would have amounted to
anything!" And he walked away.
The seminary professor and his wife were stunned.
He called the waitress over and asked her,
"Do you know who that man was who just left who was sitting at
our table?" The waitress grinned and said,
"Of course. Everybody here knows him. That's Ben Hooper.
He's the former governor of Tennessee!"
~by Dr. Fred Craddock
Seminary professor of homiletics at Emory University in Atlanta~