One time—in a place not that far away, in a time that seems longer ago than it really was—there was a boy.
This boy was a country boy. He was also a PK (preacher’s kid). His father was the pastor of a country church that served a small East Texas community. This meant the boy went to church a lot.
Sundays normally included Sunday school and church in the morning. Then Training Union, which preceded another church service that evening. There was also a Wednesday night prayer service where there was a Bible study, sermon, and/or testimonial services.
The boy loved the testimonial services most of all. After a few hymns, people were asked to give their testimony. The boy was always overwhelmed at the people who were willing to stand and share what God had done for them, and these were seldom short services.
There was a man named Cletus who was not only willing, but always happy to share his testimony. Cletus was a hardworking man who worked at the salt mine not too far away. He was also the song leader at that small church. He had a wonderful way of smiling and keeping time with his foot as he led the singing. He absolutely loved to sing praises to God. He also taught Sunday school and Training Union, and was always there willing to help.
There was a story told about Cletus in that small community. People said that you could set your clocks on Sunday morning by the time that he passed your house taking his family to church.
When he testified about what God had done for him you would have thought he was the richest, happiest person that ever lived.
Cletus’s testimony would go something like this, “God has been so good to me. He has provided for me more than I ever deserved, and has made my life so rich with his blessings. I am grateful for God’s love.” Cletus would then go on to talk about his family, his church family, and the people that God had put into his life that helped him get through every day.
Sometimes during the service, the boy would listen to Cletus talk about how good God had been to him and think, “Really? I know you. I know you work at the mine. I know you drive an old car. I know your son wears hand-me-downs just like me,” not fully understanding what Cletus was talking about.
But now that he is older, the man the boy has become understands. He understands, because he realizes how much and how richly God has also blessed his life. He also understands that Cletus’s real testimony was his life, his faithfulness to God, his faithfulness to his church, and his faithfulness to his family and to his fellow man.
Not too long ago, the boy, who is now a man, visited the small cemetery in that small community. There he began to realize what Cletus and others buried there had done for him through the testimonies that they had lived before him when he was a boy.
The boy who is now a man now hopes that someday in the future someone might be able to say, “There was a man…”