The Murderer Who Built Coffins

            It’s amazing and humbling to be used by God.  We can’t guess who God will use next for His purposes or how He will do it.  I want to reprint most of a news story I hope will be a blessing to you, as it was to me.

La. Prisoner Built Graham’s Coffin

By BECKY BOHRER The Associated Press Sunday, June 17, 2007; 7:34 PM

NEW ORLEANS — Shortly before he died, convicted murderer Richard Liggett was        asked to make two of the simple plywood coffins he meticulously crafted for fellow prisoners.  Except the caskets would be for Billy and Ruth Graham.

“Humbled? He was honored, he was honored,” said Burl Cain, warden of the Louisiana State Penitentiary. “He told me, of everything that ever happened in his life, the most profound thing was to build this coffin for Billy Graham and his family.”

Graham’s son Franklin made the request after seeing the coffins on a visit to the Angola prison and being struck by their simplicity, according to a statement from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Ruth Graham was to be buried in one Sunday at a private ceremony at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C. She died Thursday at age 87 after a lengthy illness….

The coffins are made of birch plywood and lined with a foam mattress pad covered with fabric. Brass handles are on the sides, while a cross adorns the top. The price: $215 each.

Liggett, who was serving a life sentence for second-degree murder, led a team of prisoners who built the coffins for the Graham family. He had found God in prison,

Cain said.

“You would never think he’d be a prisoner. He wasn’t all marked up,” Cain said. “He just did a terrible thing, one time in New Orleans.”

The prison has a Bible college and chapel near death row funded largely by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse.

Cain said many of its 5,108 prisoners are Christian and were spending the weekend “preaching and praying and remembering the Graham family.”

But Liggett won’t be among them: He died of cancer in March, nearly 31 years into his sentence. He was buried in one of the last coffins he built, Cain said.

            Prov. 18:16 came to my mind: “A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.”  Could God use you like Richard Liggett?  Let Him surprise you.      A couple of things Jesus said about faithfulness and attitudes toward money contain principles that have far broader applications in each of our lives.

Luke 12:48b—“For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”

Luke 16:10-13—“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

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Explore posts in the same categories: Christian Life, Thoughts from John

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