In Search of a Father

Fred Craddock and his wife were in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, on a short vacation. 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, white- haired man moving from table to table, visiting guests. Craddock secretly hoped that the man wouldn’t make it around to their table, but he did.

After a short introduction, the white-haired man sat down at the Craddock’s table and said, “I’ve got a story I want to tell you… 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 lunch-time 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?’ the preacher 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!’”

Ben Hooper, former Governor of Tennessee, looked across the table at Fred Craddock and said, “That was the most important single 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.

The wonderful news of the Gospel is that God wants YOU and ME to be His children. He has gone to great lengths to make it possible: even though we are separated from Him due to our sin (Isaiah 59:1-2), God loved us so much that He gave His Only Begotten Son to die on the cross for our sins (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9-10) so that we might have forgiveness and become a part of His eternal family (Eph 1:7).

God will forgive and add to His family (the church) those who: believe and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized (immersed) – born again – into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).

Some are searching for their father, but THE Father is searching for US! He wants us to become His children and live with Him forever. He has extended His invitation to us; the choice is ours to make.

Won’t YOU accept the Father’s invitation to become His child?

David A. Sargent, Minister

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