As a young minister in
Kentucky, I was asked by a funeral director to hold a grave-side service for
a homeless man, who had no family or friends. The funeral was to be held at
a new cemetery way back in the country, and this man would be the first to
be buried there. I was not familiar with the backwoods area, and I soon
became lost. Being a typical man, I did not stop to ask for directions.
I finally arrived an hour late. I saw the backhoe and the open grave, but
the hearse was nowhere in sight. The digging crew was eating lunch. I
apologized to the workers for my tardiness, and I stepped to the side of the
open grave. There I saw the vault lid already in place. I assured the
workers I would not hold them up for long, as I told them that this was the
proper thing to do.
The workers gathered around the grave and stood silently, as I began to pour
out my heart an d soul. As I preached about "looking forward to a brighter
tomorrow" and "the glory that is to come," the workers began to say "Amen,"
"Praise the Lord," and "Glory!" The fervor of these men truly inspired me.
So, I preached and I preached like I had never preached before, all the way
from Genesis to Revelations. I finally closed the lengthy service with a
prayer, thanked the men, and walked to my car.
As I was opening the door and taking off my coat, I heard one of the workers
say to another, "I ain't NEVER seen nothin' like that before, and I've been
puttin' in septic tanks for thirty years!"