Vital Words to the Body of Christ
Freely We Have Received, Freely We Give
Abraham was known as the Father of Faith. God spoke to Abraham:
"And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:" Genesis 12:2
God spoke to Abraham, "Thou shalt be a blessing." It is God's desire that we live our lives so that we will be a blessing; not only a blessing to God, but a blessing to all nations [peoples]. When we become a blessing, then we release God's hand to bless us. The Lord promised Abraham:
"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." Genesis 12:3
When we become a blessing in the sight of God and in the sight of all men, this releases God's blessing in our lives. He promises that He will bless those that bless us and will curse those who curse us. We can depend on this promise. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
"For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." II Corinthians 1:20
All God's promises are "yes" and "so be it," nothing to be changed or added. How can we become that blessing before God? He has given us three distinct ways that we may become a blessing before God and man:
Tithes, offerings, and alms existed
Before the law
During the law
and After the law
Today many believe we are not to consider anything in the Bible that is before the Law or during the Law. Many have been taught it was all done away in Christ and that the Old Testament is not for us today. Because of this false teaching the church has been robbed of many truths and blessings that God has for it. In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul spoke of those who are blind to the Old Testament and its wonderful revelation:
"But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament: which veil is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it [the heart] shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away." II Corinthians 3:14-16
The veil that is upon people's minds when they read the Old Testament can only be done away with IN CHRIST (the Holy Spirit anointing). Those who have not allowed the anointing to operate in their lives are still walking in Spiritual blindness. But when there is a genuine turning to the Lord and the anointing is given free reign in a person's life, only then are the eyes of their understanding enlightened and their Spiritual eyes opened. When the veil is removed, then they will be able to see clearly God's plan and purpose for His creation man.
The veil needs to be removed from our minds concerning tithes, offerings, and alms giving, so that we may be able to move into God's wonderful blessings. God has blessings in store for all who desire to become a blessing to God and man. Each of these three ways of giving, in the Old and New Testament, have their own way of invoking God's blessings in our lives.
There is one important element that must be present in everything we do for God or man. That element is a willing heart. If what we do for God or man is not accomplished with a willing heart, then what we do is not acceptable before God or man. All our actions must be pleasing in the sight of God. We know that God will bless because it is His nature to give, and it is His faithfulness to provide.
Tithe is the most basic way that God has given us, so that we may show our faith and faithfulness to God and His Word. Man has allowed himself to be robbed of God's blessings for generations because he was ignorant of God's plan and purpose in His Word. But God has given us His example of sowing and reaping so that we may apply its principles to our lives. We do not sow only to get back what we have sown; we sow expecting an increase. This is why God uses simple examples to explain His wonderful Word.
Tithing is sowing in God's storehouse. The word tithe is used both in the Old and New Testaments. The Hebrew word for tithe is MAHASPAW and the Greek word for tithe is APODEKATAO. Both the Greek and the Hebrew words have the same meaning, "tenth," or one tenth of all our increase we owe God. Tithes are like paying rent for being here on earth. As David the Psalmist wrote:
"The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein." Psalm 24:1
The earth is the Lord's. All the fullness thereof, and all that dwell upon the earth are His. This makes God our landlord. The tithe is what God requires if we are to receive the blessings that He promised Abraham.
The last prophet God used in the Old Testament laid the foundation for paying tithes. God spoke through Malachi:
"Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?" Malachi 3:7
Many times in the Old Testament, it is recorded where God turned His back upon His ancient people and left them to their own ways. His blessings were withheld because they had gone away from His ordinances, and turned their backs on God. The Lord promised that if they would return to the keeping of His ordinances, He would return unto them. The question is "Wherein shall we return?" God revealed where Israel had turned away from obeying His ordinances. He asked:
"Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Malachi 3:8
When tithe on our increase is not paid, then we are robbing God of what is due to Him. In this world, when we do not pay the landlord or the mortgage holder, we are evicted, no longer to enjoy the comforts of our home. When we rob God (our landlord) in tithes and offerings, then we too can be evicted from the comfort of God's blessings. Malachi continued:
"Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me, even this whole nation." Malachi 3:9
When we do not pay our tithes, God has promised we will be cursed with a curse. We generally equate curses and cursing with the satanic realm. When God speaks of cursing, it means "the absence or reversal of a blessing, falling from our rightful state and being lowered into a lesser state." Cursings are the opposite of the things sacred, and means to be separated. In other words, we no longer live in a place where God can bless. We have separated ourselves from God through disobedience to His Word. God promised His children Israel that if they did all His commandments:
"All these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. Deuteronomy 28:2
God gave Israel a list of the blessings they could expect if they hearkened unto the voice of the Lord their God. These were not blessings that Israel had to seek for, but they would come on them and overtake them. God also informed Israel what would happen if they did not follow His commandments.
"But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:" Deuteronomy 28:15
God warned His people that if they would not obey His voice and do all His commandments and statutes, these curses would come upon them and overtake them. It only took twelve verses to explain His blessings. But it took fifty-four verses to proclaim His cursings. God promised that if His people did not pay their tithes He would curse them with a curse. He proclaimed these curses in Deuteronomy 28:15-68. This is God's warning to His people if they do not pay their tithes.
God gives assurance of His blessings if His people are faithful in what He has ordained:
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." Malachi 3:10
We are to bring our tithe into the storehouse. The storehouse is where we are being fed or ministered to. The storehouse is where we are being taught God's Word, His will and His way. Many ask, "Where do I pay my tithe?" The answer is very simple. Where is your storehouse? Where are you being fed from God's Word?
God has given us a challenge. He said, "Prove Me." He has promised to open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing that we will not have room enough to receive it. If we are to prove God, then we must do it by His Word:
1 It must be with a willing heart;
2 There can be no ulterior motive to put God in a corner where He must perform for you;
3 There can be no motive of greed, lust, or increase in our actions.
Too many people have been taught that God's blessings come with a dollar sign in front of them. As it was said before, it is God's nature to give, and His faithfulness to provide. He knows our motives, and He knows the thoughts and intents of the heart. When we prove God, it should be our desire to know that we are in His will, not what we can get in return. God also promised:
"And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts." Malachi 3:11
If we are faithful in our tithing, God will rebuke the devourer. When God rebukes the devourer, it releases the increase in everything we do, and His increase is guaranteed.
As we look at God's Word Spiritually, He proclaims He will not destroy the fruit of our ground or earth. The fruit of our earth is when we bring forth the twelve fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, etc., [See "Trees Planted by the Living Water" by George Kirkpatrick].
God declares that He will not destroy this fruit in our lives, but will increase it. "The vine will not cast her fruit before its time". Our fruit will come to full maturity that it may be fruit fit for the king's table. The mature, fullripe fruit is that which will be gathered by the first sickle, and taken into the king's presence, Revelation 14:18.
When we pay our tithes and offerings, we come into the blessing of Abraham:
"And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts." Malachi 3:12
What is meant by delightsome land? It means we will be acceptable, desirable, and pleasant in the sight of God.
TITHE PAID BEFORE THE LAW
Abraham is our Father of Faith, and it is recorded that he was first to pay tithe. When four kings came against the five cities of the plains, Lot, Abraham's nephew was captured along with all his belongings, wife, and children. Abraham took three hundred and eighteen of his trained servants and went to battle with the kings of Elam, Shinar, Ellasar, and Tidal, the king of nations. Being victorious he returned all the spoils that were taken in battle except the tithe which he paid to Melchizedek, the priest of the Most High God. The writer of Hebrews says of this priest:
"Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life. . ." Hebrews 7:3
There is only one who is without father or mother, without descent, who has had no beginning of days, nor end of life. Abraham met the Lord Himself on the plains returning from the battle of the kings. The writer of Hebrews proclaims:
"To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;" Hebrews 7:2
It was said of Melchizedek that he was the King of Righteousness and the King of Peace. Isaiah informs us that Jesus is the Prince of Peace. A prince is the son of a king. Abraham met Melchizedek, the Lord of hosts; and to Him he paid one-tenth of all the spoils. Abraham had no intention of keeping any of the spoils for himself, but while they were in his possession he paid the tithe on the spoil. Because of this Abraham was made a blessing in the sight of God.
Jacob paid tithes. He came into a covenant relationship with God when he fled from his brother Esau. Jacob had tricked Isaac into giving him the blessing reserved for the eldest son.
"And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee." Genesis 28:20-22
Jacob promised one-tenth, or tithe, of all the Lord gave him. This was accomplished by a vow that Jacob vowed. Jacob did not ask much of God, only that he be kept safe, given his food and clothing, and that he would return to his native land. God performed all that Jacob asked, and Jacob paid his tithe.
TITHE WAS PAID UNDER THE LAW
"Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. And thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which He shall choose to place His name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always." Deuteronomy 14:22-23
Israel was to tithe on all increase. The increase of the seed of the field, increase of the corn, wine, olive oil, and the firstling of the herds and flocks. All increase under the law was to be tithed. Moses recorded in Leviticus:
"And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's: it is holy unto the Lord." Leviticus 27:30
The tithe is holy unto the Lord, and when we use His tithe for our own needs, then we are partaking of that which is holy [held sacred] by God, and become disobedient children. Paul wrote:
"For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:" Colossians 3:6
God's wrath is promised to the children of disobedience, those who have gone away from His ordinances and statutes.
TITHE PAID IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
Jesus admonished the Pharisees:
"But woe unto you, Pharisees! For ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone." Luke 11:42
Jesus did not admonish them because they paid tithes. They paid tithes on everything down to the smallest seed. But they failed to teach the people about God's judgment and His love. Jesus told the Pharisees that they should have paid their tithes and not left the teaching of God's judgment and His love undone.
Today many churches do not teach tithing because they do not want to drive people away. In reality they are robbing God's people of their blessing. When tithing is not taught, they are allowing their people to ignorantly rob God. By this they allow the devourer to have free access to their people. Then the church and the people wonder why they are not being blessed. When God's people return again unto God, He will return unto them as He has promised.
God informed us through Malachi that His people not only robbed Him in tithes, but in offerings also. Many believe their only obligation to God is the tithe. But we can rob God in our offerings also.
"Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O Lord, and teach me thy judgments." Psalm 119:108
Unlike tithes, offerings are NOT an obligation. An offering is not a bill we owe, it is a sacrifice we choose to make. As the Psalmist proclaimed, an offering must be "free will" from a willing heart. A freewill offering will always cost something to give. The offering is a test of faith. As with tithes, an offering cannot be given for selfish reasons, expecting to get something in return. God has warned us through the pen of Malachi that when we do not give offerings we are robbing God. Many believe their only duty to God is to pay their tithes. But offerings are part of God's ordinances also.
Just as tithes were paid before the law, during the law, and after the law, offerings were freely given before the law, during the law, and after the law. The first example of offerings in the Bible were the offerings Cain and Abel offered before the Lord:
"And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell." Genesis 4:3-5
Abel's offering cost him something. Abel brought the firstlings of his flock and Cain brought the fruit of the ground. God's Word does not say if Cain had flocks or not, but we assume he did. But he brought that which he reaped from the field, not the firstling of the flock. The firstling of the flock was generally considered breeding stock, or the strongest of the flock. So, Abel's offering had real value. Abel's offering was sacrificial giving before the Lord. The writer of Hebrews in the faith chapter relates:
"By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh." Hebrews 11:4
It was by faith that Abel offered his sacrificial offering, knowing that anything he gave to God had to be acceptable, and that it had to cost him something. Because of his sacrificial offering, Abel stood righteous before God. His offering stands today as an example to all who will hear that our offerings before God must be the best, cost something and be offered from a willing heart.
Another example of offerings before the law was when Abraham offered up Isaac in obedience to God's command. Isaac was Abraham's only legal heir. Abraham had waited 100 years for this son to be born. Now God said he must offer his only heir as a sacrifice before the Lord:
"And He said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together." Genesis 22:2 & 6
In faith, Abraham laid the fire and put Isaac upon the altar of sacrifice. It was not until Abraham drew back the knife that God stopped him and provided another sacrifice, a ram caught in the thicket by his horns. Abraham's sacrifice cost him something. It was going to cost him his only begotten son. Abraham had a willing heart to be obedient to God's voice. The writer of Hebrews addressed Abraham's faith when he wrote:
"By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure." Hebrews 11:17-19
Abraham knew the promise of God, that in Isaac shall thy seed be called. Because of this promise, Abraham knew that if he plunged that knife into the heart of his only begotten son, that God, because of His promise, would raise Isaac from the dead. Abraham had faith that God would fulfill His promise. Speaking of Abraham, the Apostle James wrote:
"Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?" James 2:22
Abraham was justified by works. His works were his offering before God, a sacrifice that cost him something. Only by works was Abraham's faith made perfect. We cannot be made perfect and rob God of His offerings.
OFFERINGS DURING THE LAW
One of the greatest offerings made before God during the law was Hannah's gift of Samuel to the Lord. Hannah was the wife of a good husband that loved her very much. But Hannah was barren. While at the temple, she promised God that if He would give her a son, then she would give him unto the Lord his whole life.
"And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if Thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head." I Samuel 1:11
Hannah vowed a vow. A vow is a promise made before God. Her vow was not only that her son would be given unto the Lord, but also that the child would be a Nazarite. The Nazarite vow was generally made for a period of time, but Hannah's vow was for Samuel's entire life. Hannah's offering before the Lord cost her something. When she weaned Samuel, she took him to the house of God:
"For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of Him: Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshipped the Lord there." I Samuel 1:27-28
Hannah's offering was received before God, and God made Samuel a great man of faith. God spoke to Samuel in his early years, and Samuel knew God's voice his whole life.
"Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice." I Samuel 2:19
Hannah could only see her beloved child once a year when they went up to the house of God to worship. Hannah's offering before the Lord cost her something, but God rewarded her faithfulness:
"And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The Lord give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the Lord. And they went into their own home. And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the Lord." I Samuel 2:20-21
When we give our freewill offering unto God with a willing heart, expecting nothing in return, we truly open the windows of heaven to receive God's blessing.
OFFERINGS AFTER THE LAW
One of the examples of offerings in the New Testament is the poor widow. Luke records that as Jesus was sitting by the treasure, He observed the people casting their gifts into the offering. He watched as the rich men cast in of their abundance. Then He noticed a poor widow casting in her offering which was only two mites. The mite was the smallest coin used, and was equivalent to our penny. Jesus took note of this poor widow's offering. In Jesus' words, He noted that this poor widow had cast in more than all the rich who had given money into the collection:
"And He said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:" Luke 21:3
Why? Because they had given less then two mites? No! Jesus answered this question:
"For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had." Luke 21:4
The rich had only given of their abundance. Their gift had cost them nothing. There was no sacrifice in their giving. Their offering, as Cain's, was not acceptable before God. The widow's offering cost her all she had, even her living. She stood righteous before the Lord. God's Word does not inform us how God blessed this poor widow, but we know He did.
The greatest offering in the New Testament is the offering that Jesus made for all mankind. Paul spoke of this sacrifice in his letter to the Ephesians:
"And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour." Ephesians 5:2
Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice in that He gave His life. He provided the way for all mankind to be forgiven their sin. This was a sweetsmelling savour that went up before God. God does not require that we give up our physical life. He desires only that we put our old, carnal, fleshly, selfcentered, selfserving life to death, so that we may stand before Him righteous and acceptable. As Paul proclaimed:
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20
When we are truly crucified with Christ and allow the anointing to direct our lives, we, too, are a sweet-smelling savour unto the Lord. We cannot expect God to bless us as long as we rob Him in tithe and offerings. We must remember our offerings are not a "have to," as with tithes. Our offering must be a "want to," to be acceptable and well-pleasing in the sight of God.
God may not require your offering to be as Abraham's, Hannah's, or even the poor widow's, but our offerings most cost us something to be acceptable in the sight of God.
Alms are the highest form of giving. It is the greatest sacrifice of all givings. It is giving, not only of our substance, but of ourselves. This giving opens ourselves up to all the blessings of God. Alms giving is giving unto the poor who cannot give in return. Any return we receive from alms giving comes directly from the Lord. Solomon wrote:
"He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will He pay him again." Proverbs 19:17
God becomes our banker. He is aware of our alms giving, and He is our rewarder. The word alms literally means "to loan to God," and God always pays back with substantial increase. He is a good banker. Again, God's rewards do not always have a dollar sign in front of them. We take many of God's rewards for granted: good health, things not breaking down, children who love us, a good wife or husband, friends in the time of need and friends at all times.
When we are in God's will, His blessings are abundant and His peace rules in our hearts. His rewards are not always immediate. We may not recognize many of His rewards because they are not immediate. God may be rewarding you for something you did two years ago, or maybe five years ago. Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes:
"Cast your bread upon the waters: for you shall find it after many days." Ecclesiastes 11:1
When we cast our bread upon the water, it may take many days for it to return to us, but we have God's guarantee that it will return.
Tithes and offerings were before the law, during the law, and after the law. We have no particular incidence recorded of alms giving before the law. Although it has always been God's law that we care for the poor.
ALMS GIVING DURING THE LAW
When God handed down the law to His people through Moses, He gave definite instructions on alms giving:
"If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the Lord against thee, and it be sin unto thee. Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto. For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in the land." Deuteronomy 15:7-11
God gave Israel definite instructions on how to deal with the poor of their land. This help never went unnoticed by the Lord, for He promised that He would bless those who gave alms in all their works and in all things that they put their hand to do, Deuteronomy 15:10.
ALMS GIVING AFTER THE LAW
Jesus spoke more about giving alms than He did tithes and offerings:
"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly." Matthew 6:1-4
Jesus informed us that we are to do our alms in secret. We are not to let our left hand know what our right hand is doing. Our left hand is our receiving hand and our right hand is our hand of ministry. In other words, we are not to look at our source before we give alms.
Our source is the Lord Jesus Christ, and He rewards after we give alms, not before. When we open our right hand in alms giving, that which we do in secret the Father will reward us openly. Alms giving never goes unnoticed by the Father.
When the church was new and vibrant, and the Holy Spirit was moving mightily amongst His people, alms giving was in abundance. When Peter and John were going into the temple, there was a beggar sitting at the temple gate begging alms.
"And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them." Acts 3:4-5
Peter did not say, "Look at us". He said, "Look on us." Peter directed the man's attention to that which had come upon them a short time before, on the Day of Pentecost. Peter directed the man's attention to the Holy Spirit who had come as cloven tongues of fire which sat upon each of them, Acts 2:3. Peter's words were:
". . . Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk." Acts 3:6
Sometimes those seeking relief from their situations do not need money, they need a word of encouragement. They may need friendship. They may need a closer relationship with their God. They may only need to be loved. Peter and John could not meet this man's need with silver and gold, but they had something much more important to give to meet his total need.
Alm's giving is not always giving of money, but the giving of one's self. There is another record in the book of Acts of a woman who was rich in alms giving:
"Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did." Acts 9:36
While Peter was dwelling in Lydda, Tabitha, which is called Dorcas, died. The people sent to Lydda to have Peter come to Joppa:
"Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them." Acts 9:39
The widows (those who had no provider) showed all the coats and garments that Dorcas (Tabitha) had made so the widows could be warm during the long, cold nights. Tabitha's alms giving was not necessarily in money, but what she did for those who could not help themselves. Her reward was not immediate, but in her time of greatest need:
". . .Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up." Acts 9:40
God raised her from the dead. Why? Because of her alms deeds.
Another man who was rich in alms giving was Cornelius.
"There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway." Acts 10:1-2
This was a man who gave much alms to the poor. Cornelius was a Roman soldier, a centurion over 100 men. Rome paid their commanders well. What Cornelius did, he did in secret, and God rewarded him openly. God appeared to Cornelius in a vision and instructed him to send to Joppa and bring Peter. God was about to reward Cornelius so that all the earth would know that God rewards alms giving. When Peter came he spoke to Cornelius:
"And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God." Acts 10:31
God heard Cornelius' prayers, and his alms giving came into remembrance before Him; and God's reward was at hand. Peter went on to inform Cornelius about Jesus, His life, His death, and His resurrection:
"While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word." Acts 10:44
Cornelius' reward was that he became the first Gentile upon whom the Holy Ghost fell. Cornelius received the anointing that no Gentile had ever received before. Many believe Cornelius returned to Rome to start a great work for God. In Paul's letter to the Romans, he wrote:
"To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world." Romans 1:7-8
God had done a great work in Rome, and their faith was spoken of throughout the whole world. If God used Cornelius to begin this work in Rome, what a reward for alms giving. There is no higher reward than to be called into God's service.
Jesus spoke to His disciples:
"Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Luke 12:33-34
God judges the thoughts and intents of the heart through His Word. Is our heart set on receiving our reward from the Father, or is our heart set on what we can lay up on earth?
All our giving is before God. Tithes, we must pay; offerings, we should give; and alms, we ought to do. All that we do, we need to do in the sight of God. And when we do, He rewards us accordingly.
If it is our desire to invoke God's blessings in our lives, then we must give all to God, holding nothing back. Everything we are, or want to be, should bring glory to God. Our giving is no different. If God is going to open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing that we will not be able to receive, we must give with a willing heart. We need to remember that no man can outgive God, and that it is He that will make us a blessing to all men.
Outline For Further Discussion From the Contents of this Book
Become a Blessing
Robbed of God's Blessing
Tithing Before the Law
Tithing During the Law
Tithing After the Law
The Highest Form of Giving
Alms in Secret