Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys.
Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God.
One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his good deed.
Tithes and alms are different. Tithes support the work of God's church. Alms support individuals in need: the suffering God places in your path.
Alms are defined as 'charitable donations of money or goods to the poor or needy' (World English Dictionary). Alms are donations for the beggars at your gates, the homeless on your streets, the less fortunate within your family--in addition to widows, orphans and ministries.
'Do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased' (Hebrews 13:16). Aren't we all about pleasing Him?
Consider God's Word in this regard:
1) 'Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back' (Luke 6:30). Why give to everyone? Because God puts poor people before you for a reason, and it's not your job to judge the validity of their need. Proverbs 19:17 says God will pay you back!
Why not ask for your goods or money back from a borrower or a thief? Because God says, 'I will repay' (Romans 12:19)--both them and you!
2) 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me' (Matthew 25:40). Clearly, Jesus loves the poor. 'Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God' (Luke 6:20). He identifies with them. He became One of them.
3) 'When you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do' (Matthew 6:2). 'Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them' (Matthew 6:1). 'Then your Father, Who sees what is done in secret, will reward you' (Matthew 6:4).
4) 'If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever' (1 Timothy 5:8). Don't ignore your poor relatives.
In summary, 'He who bestows his goods upon the poor shall have as much again, and ten times more' (John Bunyan).
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Show Me The Money series.