As a young minister, I was asked by a funeral director to hold a graveside
service for a homeless man, with no family or friends. The funeral was to
be held at a cemetery way back in the country, and this man would be the
first to be laid to rest there.
As I was not familiar with the backwoods area, I became lost; and
being a typical man did not stop for directions. I finally arrived
an hour late. I saw the backhoe and the crew, who were eating lunch,
but the hearse was nowhere in sight.
I apologized to the workers for my tardiness, and stepped to the side
of the open grave, where I saw the vault lid already in place. I
assured the workers I would not hold them up for long, but this was
the proper thing to do. The workers gathered around, still eating
their lunch. I poured out my heart and soul.
As I preached the workers! began to say “Amen,” “Praise the Lord,”
and “Glory!” I preached, and I preached, like I’d never preached
before, from Genesis all the way to Revelation.
I closed the lengthy service with a prayer and walked to my car. As I
was opening the door and taking off my coat, I overheard one of the
workers saying to another, “I ain’t never seen nothing like that
before and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years.”