Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Who Is Your Daddy?

A seminary professor was vacationing with his wife in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, when they stopped at a small country diner for breakfast.   While waiting for their food, they noticed a distinguished looking, white-haired man moving from table to table, visiting with each diner.  The professor leaned over and whispered to his wife, "I hope that guy doesn't come over here."  But sure enough, the white-haired 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, so you teach preachers how to preach, do you?  Well, in that case, 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 from Oklahoma. 
The professor groaned and thought to himself, "Great!  Just what I need - another preacher story!"
The man started, "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 in these parts, because every place he went, people always asked him the same question, 'Hey boy, who's your daddy?'  Whether at school, the grocery store or the drug store, people would ask 'Who's your daddy?'"

"The boy often avoided going places just to avoid hearing the question, 'Who's your daddy?'   A new preacher arrived in town and one Sunday as the young boy was going out of church with the crowd, the new preacher, not knowing anything about the young boy, put his hand on his shoulder and asked him, 'Son, who's your daddy?'"

"The whole church got deathly quiet and the preacher could feel that every eye in the church was watching as if now they  would finally know the answer to the question, 'Who's your daddy?'  Sensing this awkward situation around him and how uncomfortable the little boy looked, the preacher said 'Wait a minute!  I know who you are!  I can clearly see the family resemblance now.  You are a child of God.'   With that the preacher patted the little boy on his shoulder and said, 'Boy, you've got a great inheritance.  Go out in the world and claim it.'"

"The little boy, for the first time in a long time, smiled big and walked out of church that Sunday a changed person.  He was never the same again.  From that day forward 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 and his wife were obviously moved and both responded that it really was a great story!   As the southern gentleman walked toward the door to leave, he turned to look back at the couple from Oklahoma and 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 with that he walked out of the diner.

The seminary professor and his wife were stunned by those final words.  When the waitress came to their table with their bill, the professor asked, "Do you know who that man was -- the one who just left our table?" 
The waitress grinned and said, "Of course.  Everybody down here knows him.  That's Ben Hooper.  He's the former Governor of the State of Tennessee!"

Ben Hooper (1870-1957) - Governor of Tennessee from 1911-1915

This great story is attributed to Dr. Fred Craddock, Pastor of Cherry Log Christian Church, Cherry Log, Georgia.