Paternity isn’t a trick question for children of God

Published 5:20 am Wednesday, December 8, 2021

A little discernment can go a long way.
Years ago, a seminary professor was vacationing with his wife in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
One morning, they were eating breakfast at a little restaurant. While they were waiting for their food, they noticed a distinguished looking, white-haired man moving from table to table, visiting with the guests.
In a few minutes, he came to their table.
“Where are you folks from?” the stranger asked them.
“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.”
“Oh, so you teach preachers how to preach, do you? 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.
The man pointed out the restaurant window and said, “See that mountain over there?
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 question, ‘Hey boy, Who’s your daddy?’
He would hide at recess and lunchtime from other students. He would even avoid going into stores because that question hurt him so bad.
“When he was about 12 years old, a new preacher came to his church. The boy 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.
“When he got to the back door, the new preacher, not knowing anything about him, put his hand on his shoulder and asked him, ‘Son, who’s your daddy?’
“The whole church got deathly quiet. He could feel every eye in the church looking at him. Now everyone would finally know the answer to that question.
“This new preacher, though, sensed the situation around him and using discernment that only the Holy Spirit could give, said: ‘Wait a minute! I know who you are. I see the family resemblance now. You are a child of God!
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 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 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 that 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!”
Yes, a little discernment can go a long way… even change a person’s life.

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.