Last Wednesday Mr. Ed Green and I met to talk about the funeral service for this morning. One of the things that he shared with me about his mother, Peg Green was about her ability to make good investments. He remembers her good business sense. That made an impression on me because a couple of years ago my sister in law convinced me to invest in a condominium in Florida as an investment property; talking about a bad investment and terrible timing. In the world of investment timing is crucial; you need to know how to make the right investment at the right time.
The gospel lesson that we read this morning in gospel of Luke is about one of Jesus’ parable. It talks about a rich man whose land produced more than he ever imagine possible. He had what most would consider a good problem. The crop was so big that it did not fit in his barns, so he decided to tear them down and built bigger ones. “And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’”
This man worked so hard, he finally had everything he needed. He finally give himself permission to relax and enjoy the fruits of his labor; but his timing was off. Jesus ends the parable with the warning: “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”
Peg was not like the rich man in the story, for one she came from a family of modest means, but more important she was wise enough to know that timing is important. Ed remembers her as someone who had enormous wisdom. Her life was informed by one of her favorite prayers: the serenity prayer. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace. Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it. Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will. That I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen.”
Her life radiated the essence of this prayer. She was raised in the church. She joined the First United Methodist Church of Freehold in 1926 and was the oldest member of that congregation. She was humble, friendly, generous and caring. She volunteered in the hospital and her doors were always open for people as well as animals that neighbors will bring to her home.
As someone who was in love with the God of life she enjoyed God’s creation. She love gardening and traveling; often going for a two or three week trip around Europe, Asia and Latin America. She was devoted to her family and friends. She had a great sense of humor. She was easy going; and yet she was a hard worker, working seven days a week in the family business. During her last days in the nursing home, she remained happy and friendly to those around her. Even when her illness attempted to rob her of herself, her smile survived showing those who love her that her spirit was still strong in her. During her last days she began to dream about people calling her to cross the river to their side. In that sense God continue to speak through her to all of us about a time beyond our time.
To her son Ed, her life is best portrayed in the story by Shel Silverstein, entitled: “The Giving Tree.” This is a story of a tree in love with a little boy; a tree that because of that love gave of itself unselfishly to make him happy. As the child grew, to a teen ager, a young adult, and a senior citizen the tree continued to give of itself until it had nothing left to give, giving its very life for the happiness of the old man that it loved. Peg love to the end, even when she could not recognize her visitors; she gave her last remainder memories, her very last smiles, the little of herself that remained; until now that she has given her life to her creator. I am sure that her Lord is telling her now: “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’”