Sunday, July 16, 2023

Whose Are You?

By David A. Sargent
    While lecturing at Yale University, Fred Craddock told of going back one summer to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, to take a short vacation with his wife. One night they found a quiet little restaurant where they looked forward to a private meal — just the two of them.
    While they were waiting for their meal, they noticed a distinguished looking, white-haired man moving from table to table, visiting guests. Craddock whispered to his wife, “I hope he doesn’t come over here.” He didn’t want the man to intrude on their privacy. But the man did come by his table.
    “Where you folks from?” he asked amicably.
    “Splendid state, I hear, although I’ve never been there. What do you do for a living?”
    “I teach homiletics at the graduate seminary of Phillips University.”
    “Oh, so you teach preachers, do you? Well, I’ve got a story I want to tell you.” And with that he pulled up a chair and sat down at the table with Craddock and his wife.
    The man stuck out his hand. “I’m Ben Hooper. I was born not far from here across the mountains. My mother wasn’t married when I was born so I had a hard time. When I started to school my classmates had a name for me, and it wasn’t a very nice name. I used to go off by myself at recess and during lunchtime because the taunts of my playmates cut so deeply.”
    “What was worse was going downtown on Saturday afternoon and feeling every eye burning a hole through you. They were all wondering just who my real father was.”
    “When I was about 12 years old a new preacher came to our church. I would always go in late and slip out early. But one day the preacher said the benediction so fast I got caught and had to walk out with the crowd. I could feel every eye in church on me. Just about the time I got to the door I felt a big hand on my shoulder. I looked up and the preacher was looking right at me.”
    “‘Who are you, son? Whose boy are you?’ he asked.”
    “I felt the old weight come on me. It was like a big black cloud. Even the preacher was putting me down.”
    “But as he looked down at me, studying my face, he began to smile a big smile of recognition. ‘Wait a minute,’ he said, ‘I know who you are. I see the family resemblance. You are a son of God.’”
    The old man looked across the table at Fred Craddock and said, “That was the single most important sentence ever said to me.” With that he smiled, shook the hands of Craddock and his wife, and moved on to another table to greet old friends.
    Suddenly, Fred Craddock remembered. There was a man elected governor for two terms in Tennessee.  His name was Ben Hooper. *
    Who are you?  Whose are you?
    God wants each of us to be His child.  Our sins separate us from Him, but God loves us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Through Jesus, we can be cleansed from our sins and become a child of God (Galatians 3:26-27).
    God will forgive and add to His forever family those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).  He will continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7).

    Accept God’s offer on His terms.  It will change your life forever.

- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled "Living Water." To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website:

* Gleaned from sermon illustrations about fathers in

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