Tithing, Offerings and Alms, part 2: Offering and Alms
Malachi 3:10 – Bring the full tenth into the storehouse so that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this way,” says the Lord of Hosts. “See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure.
Last week I discussed the first part of this, tithing. Just to recap quickly, a tithe is 10% of EVERYTHING. That means 10% off the topline of our income and 10% of our time. Getting to a point of being able to understand just how important that is results in maturity in your Christian walk.
It isn’t easy to tithe. But that is the starting point of maturity with your finances and with your time, two things that everyone claims to not have enough of.
But this week, I want to focus on the last two pieces of the puzzle, offerings and alms.
Let’s first look at offerings.
Offerings are that which go above the tithe. As Christians, we are obligated to give the first 10% to God. We PAY the tithe. We GIVE the offering. Offerings simply come from what you feel you are led to give. A very confused Scripture in the Bible is Luke 6:38.
Luke 6:38 – Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
This verse is talking about offerings, not tithes. Remember, we PAY tithe, we GIVE offering. And look at something else, here. When we GIVE our offering, we get a blessing in return. This is a blessing that will come from MEN. Also, this blessing that is received is dependent upon the measure of offering you give. When we pay our tithe, the windows of heaven are opened and blessings are provided by God. When we give an offering, men return the blessing to us.
One of the words for “give” in Hebrew means “to lay a foundation.” When you give your offering, you are laying a foundation for men to give back to you. Therefore, when you provide an offering, you should expect to be blessed in return.
Next, let’s look at alms.
Simply put, alms are what we would consider charitable giving. When one thinks of alms, the first Scripture to come to mind is Proverbs 19:17.
Proverbs 19:17 – “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.”
This is not a tithe. It is not an offering. We are not PAYing our tithe. We are not GIVING an offering. We are creating a LOAN to God. And God promises to repay that loan. God pays this back….with interest.
Let’s look at another verse to show this, 2 Corinthians 9:10-12.
2 Corinthians 9:10-12 – Now the One who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God.
These alms are sown.
And what happens when we sow? We receive our harvest plus a return on our investment.
Alms are something I would plant and the Lord would multiply back to me, both physically and in righteousness.
So where do you stand in your finances and the Kingdom of heaven?
Are you PAYING your tithe and receiving the blessings from God through the open windows of heaven? Are you GIVING offerings to meet the needs of others and the church and receiving back from others? Are you sowing alms to the poor and allowing God to multiply it back to you through increasing the fruits of your righteousness?
I’m not a prosperity gospel preacher by any means, but with regard to our finances, God has laid out a pretty straightforward message of giving and receiving that we need to be open to and praise God that He has given to us.
Matthew 23:23 – “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. These things should have been done without neglecting the others.