The Country Minister
As a young minister, I was asked by a funeral director to hold a grave-side service for a homeless man, with no family or friends, who had died while traveling through the area. The funeral was to be held at a cemetery way back in the country. This man would be the first to be laid to rest there.
I was not familiar with the backwoods area, and I became lost. Being a typical man, I did not stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late.
I saw the backhoe first, then spotted the crew eating lunch. 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 long, but it was proper to offer an eulogy. The workers gathered around, their sandwiches in hand. I poured out my heart and soul.
As I preached the workers began to say “Amen,” “Praise the Lord” and “Glory.” I preached and preached like I’d never preached before, from Genesis all the way to Revelations. I closed the lengthy service with a prayer and walked to my car. I felt I had done my duty for the homeless man and that the crew would leave with a renewed sense of purpose and dedication, in spite of my tardiness.
As I was opening the car door and taking off my coat, I overheard one of the workers saying to another, “I ain’t never seen anything like this before . . . .
. . . . and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for 20 years!”