While I watched the workers painting the facade of Emmanuel Center’s building with the final color, a thought came across my mind, “This is a Monument of God’s Victory”. I believe there are many who need to be aware of this truth.
It had never occurred to me that financing this project would be a challenge that exposes the spiritual warfare inside us to love and serve one of the two masters. Christ said clearly, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13). Whether we admit it or not, we are in a struggle to choose between the two masters — the “Living God” and “Mammon (Wealth)” — until God gives us victory.
This building stands as a monument of God’s victory in His Cheerful Givers who stood against loving and serving Mammon; those who accepted willingly to share with us our incredible adventure of faith. Their names are recorded in heaven, and this building stands as a witness to many generations, of how God won the battle in them.
I saw God’s victory in many Cheerful Givers. Among these victorious are children who have offered their allowances, widows and new immigrants who have donated from their needs, young couples who have offered generously, and rich people who have loved God more than their wealth.
I saw God’s victory in many who wanted to express their gratitude toward St Mark’s Church for its services to them personally, and/or its services to the land of immigration, as the mother church to all churches in North America.
I saw God’s victory in loving people from many churches that have contributed and enjoyed the sense of being ONE church, regardless of where they are and where they worship. They offered their donations as to the Lord; some of whom do not even know St Mark’s Church or its priests.
I saw God’s victory in many of the Cheerful Givers, including the youth and kids, who have contributed while feeling the heart of missionary work in the middle of Jersey City.
I saw God’s victory in many Cheerful Givers who have faithfully pursued their walk with God by paying their first income and their tithes, in holy fear of God’s word (Malachi 3:8).
In all of these loving people, I saw by my eyes how God won the battle inside them against Mammon, and how He richly has blessed them. Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57).
I am sure God will continue to fulfill the needs of His Church, through His loving people, to complete the building. I hope you will not miss the opportunity of such blessing and honor. God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).
Fr Abraam Sleman