As a young minister, I was asked by a funeral director to hold a graveside service for a derelict man with no family or friends who had died while travelling through the area. The funeral was to be held way back in the country. This man would be the first to be laid to rest at this cemetery.
As I was not familiar with the backwoods area, I became lost. Being the typical man, I didn’t stop for directions. But, I finally arrived an hour late. I saw the crew and backhoe, but the hearse was nowhere in sight. The workmen were eating lunch.
I apologized to the workers for my tardiness (who looked puzzled). I stepped to the side of the open grave to find the vault lid already in place. I assured the workers I would not hold them long, but this was the proper thing to do. As 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 (they must have been Baptist). I preached and I preached like I’d never preached before. I began from Genesis all the way through to Revelation. I preached for two hours and 45 minutes. It was a long and lengthy service. I closed in prayer and it was finished.
As I was walking to my car, I felt that I had done my duty and would leave with a renewed sense of purpose and dedication, in spite of tardiness. As I was opening the door and taking off my coat, I overheard one of the workers saying to another. “I’ve been putting in septic tanks for 20 years and I ain’t never seen anything like this before.”