by Michael Elder
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 and 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 Revelation.
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!