Tuesday, 11 May 2010

ALMS: A Vital Decision

ALMS: A Vital Decision

When the son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory (Matthew 25: 31).

If you continue to read our opening scripture for today’s “Truth for The Journey” you will discover God’s heart towards the topic of “Alms Deeds.” This matter is a weighty one in deed and you could contemporize it by saying that this is what “separates the men from the boys” when it comes to true Christianity! So close to God’s heart is our treatment of the poor and distressed that our destiny actually hangs in the balance with it… (continue to read Matthew 25: 31-46).

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me noting to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

As much as many of us have confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior and have considered ourselves the beneficiaries of eternal life, have we really perceived this scripture in its entirety? Yes salvation is a result of confessing Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior - but this goes beyond something we do as a mere form of practice but our whole life style must change.

Part of being Christ like (having His divine nature) is reaching out to those in need, giving alms and being actively involved in caring for the poor. It may not be our entire ministry focus but it must be our attitude and way of life regardless. And as we are focusing on finance lately in “Truth for the Journey” alms giving is a strategic part of this subject.

I would say prophetically speaking that as we continue over the next few years there is going to emerge an even sharper divide between those who have and those who don’t. Yes, wealth is on the increase just as the Bible said it would in these end times (with the end time wealth transfer) but poverty has also been on the increase of course. Along with many other changes there is also a great movement and unrest in the earth right now. For example statistics show that as boarders have been relaxed in places like Europe significantly, that more than ever before multitudes are on the move - looking for a better life.

As Jesus told His disciples, we will always have the poor amongst us; however poverty also brings crime. For instance take the time that I was in Africa, where the local army arranged with the police to have me stopped outside of the airport – in the middle of the night – to put their guns through the window of my taxi and say, “We want your money…!” That is what poverty does to people. It drives them to a place of despair, to a place of crime. As frightening and as vulnerable as this situation was, I remember recognizing that these men weren’t looking to get rich. They weren’t being greedy; they were looking merely to survive. Why? Because these soldiers had not been paid for 6 months! How else were they to feed their families? God’s Heart is one of LOVE, COMPASSION AND ONE OF GIVING. He is looking to reach out through us.

What is a “self preservationist?” but someone who only looks to meet his own needs. Now I am not suggesting that our giving gets out of hand by doing silly things that jeopardize our safety or compulsively giving money that we don’t have which causes debt. No! Rather we should approach every situation by the leading of the Spirit of God. Then we will hit the mark every time without casting our pearls before swine. Our giving will be on time and provoke praise to God; exceeding those fleshly motivated and random hits and misses!

My wife always looks to give strategically to everyone with need. Not rocket size but strategic. It’s something she feels that God has spoken to her about. For example in Italy there are very many Moroccan women begging on the streets (who use their babies as bate to capture the hearts of the passerby). To remedy this, my wife began buying little cakes and drinks for the children as well as the mothers. At the time she couldn’t give more and felt this was God’s directive.

She said “God I must do something, what can I do, besides money. I know if I give money they won’t directly benefit; the pimps will just take it from them. Yet it is them sitting here all day long. What else can I do Lord?” Then she noticed that no matter how hot or cold or extreme the weather was, there they were day in and day out with their babies on the side walk exposed. No drink or food. So she went into the store and bought them both a cake and a drink. The child’s eyes light up! And my wife thought, “eat it quick child, enjoy it… no one can take that away from you, it’s all yours!” She told me later… “They said ‘thank you’ but I wish they hadn’t… I didn’t demand anything in return. But if I did get something… it was that big bright smile that the child flashed me… it said absolutely everything!”

Giving this way also means that you are treating beggars like human beings, looking them in the eyes and telling them God loves them. It provides us with the opportunity to witness for Christ in their lives. Don’t pity them, or judge them… just give to them and walk away. It’s their responsibility what they do with it afterwards. Don’t control them with your giving! And don’t suppose that your gift is insignificant because it’s not rocket size (this thinking stops you from giving). They are not asking for a Ferrari! Give something. Ask the Holy Spirit. Find a way to refresh their soul. Don’t wait. Act and GIVE.

Everyone is aware that their husbands force them to beg, they pimp their own families on the streets! My wife and I even found their meeting place and watched them as they regrouped! Yes, they are breaking the law and in some cases I’ve even said to my wife, “Some of these guys have more money than we do…!” But that is never the issue, God just said GIVE. We’ve already seen in Matthew (25:34-46) that our own salvation rests on it…!

If we only tithe and give offerings without giving alms to the poor – it has to be said and this is a serious subject – our selfishness could be an issue at the judgment seat of Christ whether we get into heaven or not! Refusing to help others puts us in a dangerous place, where we are already judged by God’s Word. However we must not forget that God expects us to give alms ‘alongside’ our tithe and offerings. You can’t do one and neglect the other.

The word “alms” means: Eleemosune (Strong’s 1654), connected with eleemon, “merciful,” signifies (a) “mercy, pity, particularly in giving alms,” Matt. 6:1, 2-4; Acts 10:2; 24:17; (b) the benefaction itself, the “alms” (the effect for the cause), Luke 11:41; 12:33; Acts 3:2-3, 10; 9:36, “alms-deeds”; 10:2, 4, 31. Note: In Matt. 6:1, the RV, translating dikaiosune, according to the most authentic texts, has “righteousness,” for KJV, “alms.”

If we put God first, He will prove Himself. On the other hand how can we ever expect God to bless and prosper us if we do not heed the cry of the poor and be merciful? “If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered” (Proverbs 21:13). And in Acts 20: 35 Paul says: “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (see also 2 Corinthians 8:9-15).

God will meet our needs if we meet the needs of others. As we learn to give to the poor God will bless our lives. However if we neglect this area then we have neglected one of the most important principles of Gods Ways of Financial Increase.

So next time you see someone begging in the street, instead of judging them, I challenge you to simply ask the Holy Spirit, “Lord, what’s on your mind… how can I help… what can I give?” Your responsibility is to give not to judge. It often makes me laugh when people seem so critically concerned what happens to their ten pence!!! Often that’s only what people are prepared to give; their lose change. Don’t be deluded, no one can get drunk on your ten pence! Don’t let nonsense thinking hinder your compassion or stop your giving.

Lord you told me that it is better to give than to receive. Help me Father to recognize when and where you want me to give on a daily basis. Whether its finance or any other gift; my time, prayer, energy or friendly smile. Help me discover again the life of a giver. Because I am convinced that living is truly giving and giving is truly living! I want to mirror your divine nature and be a giver just as you are. Lead me today to give myself away. Love empties itself of itself. If You spill me, then You can fill me. Brand me with the revelation that it is truly “better to give than to receive!” Amen.

Today my confession is that I AM A GIVER. My life is not strife. My living is wrapped up in my giving. As I give out from myself, God can lift me off the shelf. There is no insignificance in giving. Firstly giving makes me Christ like; then makes me relevant to others, makes me valuable for them. Giving causes me to be a problem solver. Therefore I love to be a giver. I hate to be a (self) preservationist! I declare that God will persistently find in me a cheerful giver.


Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’

Copyright 2010 © Alan Pateman Ministries


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