Giving of Alms In All Seasons
7If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your
God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. 8Rather, be openhanded
and freely lend them whatever they need.
Deuteronomy 15:7 – 8
As we are on this Lenten journey, Lord, we want to be as generous to others as You have been to us.
Almsgiving is a tradition that dates before the celebration of Lent and has become a special focus for many during the Lenten season. Almsgiving is recorded in both Testaments of the Bible and reaches back through time to the days in the desert and the giving of the law. We have been called by God to give freely to all those in need.
17Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have
When we are gracious to one another, we are taking on the clothing of Christ. It is not just about generosity, but it is a true joy that feels our spirit when we reach out to another human being and offer alms and aid.
Let us define the different types of giving we are commanded to do in the Bible.
Alms is giving anything to relieve the poor, it is charity to those most in need.
Tithe is the first fruits of our labor, given to God as a thanksgiving for all He has given us.
Offering is that which we give above our tithe to see the Word of God spread and to express gratitude in a deeper way for the love that God gives us.
Grace is the giving of underserved gifts, the same loving generosity that God gives all of us, even when we have done nothing (or we have even done everything wrong) to deserve the gifts.
In all our giving, we are to be joyful and gracious. What is more amazing are the blessings that are tied to our giving. When we give with a joyful heart our spirit brightens, our outlook on the world becomes less dim and we grow stronger in our relationship with the Spirit of God.
10and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, down, joyless, God has a remedy for that. He promises us that when we are of a generous spirit and give to the poor, the underpaid, the oppressed that we will be lifted up in spirit. We will find a joy so unspeakable that it will radiate from us and we will shine like the “noonday”.
Giving to the poor with a spirit of joy is the work we have been called to do, not just in the season of Lent and not just in material ways. We are to look out for the poor. We are called to better their lives through our protection. We are called to work for the poor by making sure they have what they need to survive in this tumultuous world. Whether that is a living wage, healthcare, childcare, whatever that may look like in our society today, we are commanded to give alms to the poor.
Let this lent season be the beginning for you. Let this time of reflection be the moment that you step up and say, “I lay down my life for my brothers and sisters who have no other way”.
A moment of prayer for Lent:
Lord, I have given my tithes to You and I have made offerings to You and the work of Christ in this life, but often times I have forgotten the poor and what I can do for them. Turn my mind toward those who are in need.
Open my eyes that I can see my neighbors struggle and strike my heart so that I will not rest until I have given all that I have for You. Lord, You have given me so much, a home, food, money to spend on frivolous items, turn my eyes from that much wanted thing and let me look fully into the pool of the poor and suffering. Make my voice loud as I call out to others to assist the poor and to look upon them with mercy, just as you look on me in mercy.
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We're Park Hill Christian Church in KC MO. We seek to follow Jesus by praising God, loving those we meet and serving the vulnerable.