Bennie was born in 18701 over the mountain from Gatlinburg Tennessee. His mother wasn’t married, which was a major scandal in those days. This social stigma made life difficult for Bennie. As he said:
“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 Bennie was 12 he had a preacher tell him “You are a son of God. Boy you’ve got a great inheritance. Go and claim it.”
Bennie said, “That was the most important single sentence ever said to me.”2 It helped him overcome the stigma of his unwed birth. He eventually graduated college and became a lawyer. Bennie, as an adult, was known as Ben Hooper. Twice he was elected as Governor of Tennessee. All propelled by a man who encouraged him like father to claim his inheritance.
Serving in the fatherhood role is not always based on biology. Often Step-fathers, fathers-in-law and father figures are the ones who encourage us in life. Take a moment today to say thank you to the father figures in your life.
- Ben W. Hooper, Wikipedia, last updated April, 29, 2021, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_W._Hooper
- “Father,” Sermon Illustrations, http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/f/father.htm, quoting Jamie Buckingham, Power for Living
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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.