First, let me acknowledge our fathers on Father’s Day: “THE RIGHTEOUS WHO WALKS IN HIS INTEGRITY – BLESSED ARE HIS CHILDREN AFTER HIM!” Proverbs 20 I feel so blessed to have had MY Dad….what a MAN, a real man of great integrity and honor, humor and intelligence.
There was a young man who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So as he was getting his things ‘in order,’ he contacted his Priest and had him come to his house to discuss certain aspects of his final wishes.
He told him which songs he wanted sung at the service, what scriptures he would like read, and what outfit he wanted to be buried in. Everything was in order and the Priest was preparing to leave when the young man suddenly remembered something very important to him.
‘There’s one more thing,’ he said excitedly..
‘What’s that?’ came the Priest’s reply.
‘I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand. This is very important.’
The Priest stood looking at the young man, not knowing quite what to say.
‘That surprises you, doesn’t it?’ the young man asked
‘Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,’ said the Priest.
The young man explained. ‘My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement.
In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’
‘ It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming …. like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie….Something wonderful, and with substance!’
So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder ‘What’s with the fork?’
Then I want you to tell them:
‘Keep your fork … the best is yet to come.’
The Priest’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young man good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see him before his death.
But he also knew that the young man had a better grasp of heaven than he did. He had a better grasp of what heaven would be like than many people twice his age, with twice as much experience and knowledge.
He KNEW that something better was coming.
At the funeral people were walking by the young man’s casket and they saw the suit he was wearing and the fork placed in his right hand. Over and over, the Priest heard the question, ‘What’s with the fork?’ And over and over he smiled.
During his message, the Priest told the people of the conversation he had with the young man shortly before he died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to him.
He told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either
He was right. So the next time you reach down for your fork let it remind you, ever so gently, that the best is yet to come.
“But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— 1 Corinthians 2:9
Have a beautiful, hopeful Sunday…and I hope somebody’s preparing dessert for you and will say “Keep your fork” in anticipation…..God’s preparing an even more important ‘dessert’ for us all!