I continue to learn more about Worcester and recently came across interesting statistics on wealth and charitable giving by state. While Massachusetts is ranked among the top five for income (depending on “per capita” vs. “household”) it is in the bottom five for charitable giving. Residents of Massachusetts give 2.8% of their annual income to charity1.
I hope to see this statistic change. One of the incredibly challenging and freeing aspects of Christianity is its teaching about money. Ultimately there is nothing we own. All is simply entrusted to us for a brief season. Money will not save us, provide security, give meaning, or open the doors to lasting pleasure, influence, or success. God is the one who richly provides all good things for people to enjoy, yet we are to hold money loosely and use it for eternal purposes. Jesus says we will serve God or wealth, and does not leave a comfortable middle ground.
My hope in beginning a church in Worcester, MA is to particpate in a larger work of gospel renewal in New England. As I think about the many ways that a resurgence of biblical Christianity would affect New England, I think about money. I think of the 2.8% doubling to 5.6% or tripling to 8.4% or more. What would this mean for the post-industrial cities that struggle with poverty and economic development? What could this sort of giving do on a global scale if we used our money to fund aid, development, and Christian mission in the “third world?”