Kingdom Finance Series | What Does the Bible Say About Giving Alms to Those in Need?

Charitable giving, or giving alms, has a motivation of compassion and mercy for those in need.

This act of worship displays our love for those in need, and when done prayerfully, turns our heart toward the Lord, which ultimately captures His heart for us. Through our understanding and experience at Curt Landry Ministries, this brings us into communion, fellowship, and a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him.

Why Do Giving Alms Capture the Attention of the Lord?

In the Book of Acts, God reveals how gifts to the poor will capture His attention…

Cornelius prayerfully and generously gave to those in need—“…Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God” (Acts 10:4).

Paul also brought gifts for the poor and presented them as an offering in Acts 24:17—“Now after many years I came to bring alms and offerings to my nation…” This offering represents a deep love for God and His people. As compassion is shown upon those in need, it allows them to be a part of God’s mercy, clearing the way for them to begin to experience God’s goodness for themselves.

Jesus answers the question about what is the greatest commandment in Matthew 22:37-40, when He commanded us to “love the Lord your God with all your heart” and to “love your neighbor as yourself.” This offering of alms comes into agreement with this commandment.

In truth, all of the offerings discussed in this series Tithing, Firstfruits, Feast Offerings and Alms, hang on this commandment. The first three are about our relationship with the Lord, and the last is about our relationship with each other. We are called to maintain relationships among ourselves.

Something to Remember About Giving Alms…

While we see how giving alms captures the attention of God, we also must be very aware that this type of giving is not intended to capture the attention of others.

“Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”

—Matthew 6:2-3

If we proclaim our good deeds among others, this goes directly against the intention of God.

Unfortunately, it can…

  1. Block our blessings
  2. Become an emotional gift rather than a prompting by the Holy Spirit
  3. Bring shame or embarrassment to the recipient

This offering has a 1:1 return. When we give because of our own emotions, guilt, or pride, it can cancel the return. Give in private, and the Lord will reward you in public.

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How to Give Alms in Wisdom 

The Holy Spirit is the counselor of our hearts, and He will help us see our true motivation in giving alms. Often if we are giving out of guilt or pride, the root of the problem is where we’ve placed our identity. 

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39 (NKJV)

Jesus calls us to love others, but He calls us to love Him first. That order is important because it centers our identity. When we love God, we love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Our love is a response to an encounter with His perfect love, the end of fear, including the fear of people (1 John 4:18). 

We can’t love people if we fear them. Being loved by God and loving Him back is the only way our hearts can be postured to truly love others. This centers our allegiance on our Heavenly Father first, the One Who has perfect wisdom in how to respond to the needs of people. 

When we pray to Him and ask for wisdom He will guide us into decision-making that grows us and empowers the person in need. His desire is for healthy people to bring health to others. As we receive His love and surrender to His wisdom, He will always lead us on the correct path of how and where to give alms. 

A group of four hikers climbing up a mountainside at sunset.

Emotional Health Leads to Healthy Giving

God doesn’t want us to give to meet an emotional need but rather to give from a place of emotional wholeness. He wants us to give alms from a place of thanksgiving for the healing we’ve received or are trusting God to receive, and a desire for others to experience the same. 

It says in 2 Corinthians 9:7, As every man purposes in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly or out of compulsion; for God loves the cheerful giver.” 

God loves a cheerful giver! This is not only guidance for the kind of attitude God desires us to give alms in, but is a picture of emotional health.  When we are motivated by guilt or pride, we will not be cheerful in our giving. To be cheerful is to be bright and full of gladness, a picture of a person who is free. A person who is free and giving from a place of wholeness and wisdom will be generous. 

This should be the root of our generosity. Not guilt or pride and desire for status, but a true love for others that overflows from God’s love for us. This brings a quietness and peace to our souls because our giving is not another attempt to strive. We’ve found a childlike contentment within, and the result is cheerful giving. 

Our Assignment…

Giving alms attracts God to the scene. It gives you an opportunity to be a part of God’s involvement and to see Him work.

God placed this charge on the heart of those whom He chose. He has issued an assignment to be good stewards of the atmosphere so that He can send His glory through that portal in order to impact the nations.

In efforts to be straightforward with those who are involved in covenant restoration and are living rightly with God, I say this: How you manage seed, time, money, tasks, and activities all reflect your relationship with the presence of God.

This is incredibly close to my heart because I’ve seen the turmoil that finances can cause in relationships with each other and with God. He has graciously provided holiness and in order to have access to the blessings He so desires to give.

The enemy is always looking for ways to trip us up—to buy into the lies that block God’s blessings. When we prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to speak into our hearts, prompting us to give when He so desires, we can be ensured of spiritual covering and blessing.

The area of tithing, first fruits, feast offerings and giving alms: all spiritual weapons that allow you to do what God has called you to do. Be generous with your heart and with your seed.

Through the Kingdom Finance Series, we have covered the areas of giving and the blessings that follow. We will then continue on with a word of caution as we begin to take a closer look at how to prepare for tests and trials that can come in the midst of God’s blessings for our lives. Please continue to check back for this next part of our series!If you are looking for a way to live out what the Bible says about giving alms, get this free resource. Set goals that will position you to grow for days, weeks, months, and years to come.