Johnathan Dunn

10 Feb

J. Dunn wasn’t great at sowing fields, but he was great at sowing the Word in the hearts of his boys.

What difference can one man make?

Johnathan Dunn is my great great grandfather. He was the father of Blanche Dunn, the mother of Acton Cohoon, the father of Barry Cohoon, my father.

If you ask around the family what J. Dunn (as he was known) did the response would be, “It depends. He tried everything, he did not succeed at anything.” He tried his hand at business, at labor, at farming, and probably a bunch of other occupations if what I’ve heard is to be believed. He never really made it at any of those things, “but” they’ll say, “he made enough to feed his family.” His family by the way consisted of four girls and four boys. All the girls were born first, then all the boys.

Something else about J. Dunn that has to be true was that he was fun. All of his kids were crack-ups, some of the most playful and fun people I’ve ever met (even in their 80s and 90s). That family was close. They loved each other with an unyielding loving-kindness. If you asked them what they lacked living under J. Dunn’s roller-coaster career of nothing they’d answer, “nothing.”

J. Dunn wasn’t a missionary and he never pastored a church. He was, however, deeply in love with Jesus Christ.

When he and the boys went out to plow or plant, J. Dunn would do a row, then sit them down and read to them from the Word. The Word was read often in that household and was the reference for life itself.

When the youngest son, Joesph, was born, the older daughters resented him. They had taken care of three boys already and knew one more baby boy meant only more work for them. J. Dunn took them aside and told them, “This boy is a gift from God, and you won’t resent him so. Just for this, I’m going to name him Joesph after the son of Jacob whom all his brothers also hated. His name will always remind you of this day.” What is amazing is that no one ever told “Uncle Joe” this about his namesake until his 90th birthday.

So J. Dunn was never successful at a wordly career, and he was never big in the church either. He didn’t take his family to Russia as missionaries and he didn’t pastor or anything like that. All he did was raise a godly family.

All four of his sons became preachers of the Gospel and preached all their lives (many of which got pretty close to 100). God only knows how many He saved under their preaching.

Many of the daughters (at least Blanche, if not all of them) went on to become godly wives and raise godly children, and I too am a product of this faithfulness.

Men, what if your mission was simply to love your wife and raise a godly family? What if you were destined by God to never be a big hit in the world, or even the church? What if the handful of folks at home were your only ministry?

They are your ministry, no matter if you are big in the world, or even big in the church. Whatever you do, they are the most important ministry in your life, even if its the only one you have. Being a good husband and father, a godly husband and father, is the most important thing you will ever do.

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Posted by on February 10, 2015 in Sanctification


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