Summary: This eulogy is for a man who drifted from the Lord to alcholism but found his way back through AA and the witness of his wife. He had cancer the final year of his life, but it made him more determined to follow God.
September 21, 2004
On June 4th, 1936 Nancy B. Hereford probably said, “thank God it’s over” once Cle Hereford made the passageway from her womb to her arms. Little did she know that she would be going through the experience eight more times with Cle’s future brothers and sisters. Now when you’re a family of nine in Alabama in the thirties and forties, one thing you did not want to be, was late for supper. If you were, you were going to be hungry that night.
It doesn’t matter if you’re born in the white house with a table feast of food everyday, or in house with no paint, little food located in the state of Alabama, the bible tells us the Lord is no respecter of persons. It tells us the rich and poor have this in common, the Lord is maker of them both.
God was as just interested in working in the life and saving the soul of that little black boy being held in the arms of Nancy Hereford as he was each and every child born that same day. Not only that, God gave Him the same assignment as he did all the other babies born that June 4th and have been born since then, and that is to prepare to meet your God.
We celebrate a Homegoing rather than endure a funeral service tonight because Cle Hereford was prepared to meet His God. His life is a testimony of God’s willingness to be faithful to us, even when we have not been faithful in our walk with the Lord. There was a reason Cle’s favorite song was, “God has smiled on me.”
Cle recognized more than anyone that he had been that prodigal son, that walked away from His heavenly father early in his young adult life, but found his way back home and discovered God was ready to receive him back. He knew that he was still alive through some turbulent years for the simple reason that God had his hand upon his life.
Have you come to recognize that God has his hand upon your life. It doesn’t matter whether you are saved tonight or not, I’m telling you God has His hand on your life and he’s calling you back to himself. You may say, I haven’t been in church for twenty years, it doesn’t matter. You may say but I’m an addict, it doesn’t matter. You may say but I’ve done all kinds of things and ought to be locked up in jail, and I still say it doesn’t matter.
You can’t stop God from loving you and wanting to change your life. If Cle was alive, he’d tell you, “I know what the Lord did for me, and I know he could change you too.”
When God creates us, he places a part of Himself in us that longs to worship Him. We may fill that longing with going after things or even people, but it remains inside of each of us tow worship something. When God creates us, God equips us with the things we’re going to need, to complete the purposes he has for our lives. Some of us never get around to discovering all that God places in us. When we look back over a person’s life, we can see what God placed inside of them because most of the time it comes out.
God had a good time making Cle. He made Cle funny with the ability to tell all kind of stories, some of were true and some Cle just got carried away with as he added his own details. He made Cle with a certain amount of boldness that made him a true leader. The thing about Cle is that he would get projects going, and then turn them over to you to get them finished.
God made Cle with a listening ear in which you could talk to him just about anything and find Cle to be a caring and sympathetic person. He was a counselor and a good friend to have.
God make Cle likeable. Even as a kid and teenager, Cle was well liked and was often times the family favorite. You knew Cle was going to be a lot of fun to be around. Cle could be a great big tease so it was hard not to like him. One person said Cle was a trip.
As the oldest of nine children Cle learned early what it was to work. He became a father figure to his younger brothers and sisters as Cle took jobs in order to help his mom make ends meet. He knew what it was early in life to struggle. But that didn’t squash his spirit and determination to make it in life. His willingness to work stayed with him throughout his entire life.