Ben Hooper (1870-1957)
Governor of Tennessee, 1911-1915
Fred Craddock tells of meeting a man one day in a restaurant.
“You a preacher?” the man asked.
Somewhat embarrassed, Fred said, “Yes.”
The man pulled a chair up to Fred’s table. “Preacher, I’ll tell you a story. There was once a little boy who grew up sad. Life was tough because my mama had me but she had never been married. Do you know how a small Tennessee town treats people like that? Do you know the words they use to name kids that don’t have no father?
“Well, we never went to church. Nobody asked us. But for some reason or other, we went to church one night when they was having a revival. They had a big, tall preacher, visiting to do the revival and he was all dressed in black. He had a thunderous voice that shook the little church.
“We sat toward the back, Mama and me. Well, that preacher got to preaching about what I don’t know, stalking up and down the aisle of that little church preaching. It was something.
“After the service, we were slipping out the back door when I felt that big preacher’s hand on my shoulder. I was scared. He looked way down at me, looked me in the eye and says, ‘Boy, who’s your Daddy?’
“I didn’t have no Daddy. That’s what I told him in trembling voice, ‘I ain’t got no Daddy.’
“’Oh yes you do,’ boomed that big preacher, ‘you’re a child of the Kingdom, you have been bought with a price, you are a child of the King!’
“I was never the same after that… Preacher, for God’s sake, preach that.”
The man pulled his chair away from the table. He extended his hand and introduced himself. Craddock said the name rang a bell. He was Ben Hooper, the legendary former governor of the state of Tennessee. –Quoted by William Willimon in Pulpit Resource
To be a confident and secure person you need to know only two things– where you came from and where you are going. The Bible tells us that we are from God, chosen in Christ before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), and we are going back to God, to the Father’s home, where Jesus is preparing a place for us (John 14:1-3).
II Corinthians 5:15-19a — … (Jesus) died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.
Ephesians 1:3-6 — Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will– to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
I Peter 2:9-10 — …You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
John 14:1-3 — (Jesus said), “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
O God, the Father of mercies, grant to us always to hold fast to the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry to you ‘Father,’ and we are ‘your children,’ through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. –Roman Breviary