The young boy sat on the steps of his old run-down shanty, anxiously awaiting the bell that would signal the little town that church services were about to begin.
The lad loved to sing the old gospel hymns down at the church in the little dale. Being of a mixed congregation, he was exposed to many kinds of gospel music. There was black gospel, southern gospel, religious ballads, and others. He loved them all. He never missed a service or a chance to sing.
As he grew older, the family moved to Nashville, Tennessee. Once a month, there was an all-night singing held, and you could hear just about anyone who was anyone in the music world. He never missed one, if he had the money to get the ticket to enter. One of his favorite groups was the Stamps quartet. And, of course, one of his favorite friends and icons happened to be J.D. Sumner, of the Stamps group. His heart would just about burst with joy and praise every time he heard them sing.
Many times, as he entered the teen years, you could find him singing and just “messing around” with these very ones I just mentioned. He considered it an honor to sing with the Stamps group.
Times changed, and this boy began to sing a different kind of music. Nashville loved it, and promoted it to the point of exhaustion. The fans went crazy. They had never seen a young man with so much soul and such tantalizing body movements. They had no idea that all this music came straight from the heart of this boy, and when he sang, the song came from deep down within his heart, causing a multitude of emotions to arise in the crowds. He quickly moved up the ladder of success in the rock and roll world.
Gradually, the man became a victim of his fans. He couldn’t even enjoy a quiet family outing. Once he was seen leaving his home, the fans would follow and practically stampede his vehicle. He loved his fans, but really was not fond of this kind of “idolization” that they seemed to have toward him.
Every chance he got, he joined his old “gospel” buddies in just singing a few and having fun with some friends. He would always include some good old gospel songs in his program. He hated for the crowd to call him the “King”, because he knew the REAL KING was JESUS. He said so many times.
Yes, he stayed at the top in movies, record labels, and live concerts, but did anyone ever notice the tears that ran down his face as his friends, the Stamps quartet, sang “How Great Thou Art”? The man was very unhappy with the turn of events that put him over the top, but left him empty and broken in the end. He never stopped loving the Spirit, and he never forgot where he started his lot in life. He was a most generous and warm-hearted person, but few knew it. He was so crowded that he could barely breathe in public, much less enjoy life as we all know it.