Paul says, … I came to bring alms and offerings to my nation. (Acts 24:17) Paul the great apostle is a great example of this principle. God gave and Jesus taught us to give.
Offerings are something given above the first 10%. Offerings come from what you feel led of the Lord to give. Offerings are something you GIVE out of your free will.
Moses spoke to the children of Israel, ‘Whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring ‘an offering to the Lord’….The children of Israel brought a ‘freewill offering’ to the Lord, all the men and women whose hearts were willing to bring material for all kinds of work
(Ex 35:5,29). And we see that the offering was much more than the requirement.
Mal 3:8 God says, in tithes and offerings you have robbed Me. The ‘body of Christ’ has robbed God of the offerings in addition to the tithes. Jesus told the believers, ’Unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of God’. (Matt 5:20). Now, what is the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees? Giving their tithes in every little thing was their righteousness. But Jesus wants us, believers to give more then the religious leaders and thereby exceeding their righteousness. Amen.
Lk 6:38 says, ‘Give and it shall be given to you good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over shall men put into your bosom’. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you (Mt 7:2). Offerings move “men” to give you. Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them. (Mt 7:12) And your return depends upon the measure that you’ve given- the bigger the offering, the bigger the blessing. ‘To give’ in Hebrew is to transfer a load or burden, to lay or to put a foundation. By giving an offering, we are laying a foundation for men to bless us.
Offerings are made to the ‘ministers of the word’ as well. Gal 6:6 says, ‘Let him who is taught the word, share in all good things with him who teaches’. Paul admonishes the Galatians to give offerings to the ones who feed them the ‘word of God’.
Alms is what you give to the poor. Jesus said ,’When you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet….when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing (Matt 6:33, 34). Note the word ‘When’ you do… That means, in a Christian’s life, ‘charitable deeds’ should become a lifestyle. It is no more a choice.
Pro 19:17 says, ‘He who has pity on the poor, lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has given’. Jesus said, ‘the poor is always in your midst’ (Matt 26:11) Sell and give to the poor’ .Jesus said in Lk 11:41,…rather give alms. An angel of God said to Cornelius in a vision, ’Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God (Acts 10:3,4)
Almsgiving is not tithing and offering. It is a loan which God will repay. Alms is something we SOW. God puts himself in the place of the poor. 2 Cor 8:9 says…though He was rich, yet for our sakes, He became poor…2Cor 9:8-10 talks about the one who gives to the poor. God says that He will multiply the seeds we have sown. Pro 28:27 says, He who gives to the poor will not lack. God precisely says,’if we take care of the poor, He will take care of us in a way which is far more than what we can ask for.
Jesus said to the disciples, ‘Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches not moth destroys’. (Lk 12:32-34 )
Paul says in Rom 15:26,27, …make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints…their duty is also to minister to them in material things. We need to identify the poor among the believers and help them out. Paul says,’They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do says Paul, in Gal 2:10.
The Lord makes 7 amazing promises in Ps 41:1-3, for the ones who consider the poor:
1. Deliverance: Vs.1, Blessed is he who considers the poor; The Lord will deliver him
2. Preservation: Vs.2 in time of trouble. Whenever there is a problem, the Lord will bring you out. The Lord will preserve him. The Lord will preserve you from all evil (Ps 121:7)
3. Longevity: Vs 2., …and keep him alive. Ps 91:16 says With long life I will satisfy him And show him My salvation
4. Prosperity: Vs 2…And he will be blessed on the earth. 3 John:2 says, Beloved, I pray that you may prosper…even as your soul prospers.
5. Protection: Vs., 2…You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies. He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge’.(Ps 91:4)
6. Strength: Vs.3., The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness. God is our refuge and strength (Ps 46:1). God Himself becomes our strength
7. Healing: Vs.3…You will sustain him on his sickbed. God says, ’I am the Lord that heals you (Ex 15:26) We have a healing Jesus. Amen.
Paul is appreciating the ones who made contributions to the poor and ministered to them in material things. (Rom 15:26,27). In a great trial of affliction and in their deep poverty, the Macedonians abounded in the riches of their liberality…and beyond their ability, they were freely willing. (2Cor 8:2,3) They gave out of their poverty.
May the Lord supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness according to 2Cor 9:10. Amen