By Apostle Richard Wright
I would like to address an area that seems to be greatly overlooked in this current apostolic reformation. This area is one that can bring great blessings and provision or great offenses and division in the body of Christ. This is of course an area that affects our pocketbooks. This challenges the area of true Christianity which has to do with the care and concern for our brothers and sisters in the Lord. This area is called "The giving of alms...how and why"?
1. Read Matthew 6:19-24: Mammon is like a mass merchant for the kingdom of darkness. He distributes the wealth of the dark kingdom to the servants of satan in the world. Mammon exercises control over all the demons of greed and selfishness. He also controls the demons of poverty and financial destitution whom he sends against Christians to keep us poor. He possesses mankind through the love of money.
When you decide that you will tithe and give offerings and alms no matter what, Mammon will attack you. He will send the demons of poverty your way to get you to change your mind about giving to God. The one decision you must make and never waver from, no matter what, is to believe the Bible! (excerpt from "Secrets of the Dark Kingdom" by Philip Timmons)
2. 1 Corinthians 14:40, Apostle Paul says, "let ALL things be done PROPERLY and in an ORDERLY manner." Wuest translation says "in right order". When we follow God's order, God's plan for us, then we can expect an outcome that will give glory to Him and also better understand God's provision for us and for His kingdom. When we fail to follow "the due order", we can expect to find chaos and confusion. His peace is in His governmental order of things. (Isaiah 9:7)
3. God's order for our giving is as follows: Tithes are owed to God and are "paid" and are limited to 10% of our gross increase. Offerings are given and are only limited by our generosity. The tithe opens the windows of heaven, but it requires our generous offerings to bring the blessing through the open window. A third offering is spoken of in scripture and that is what I want to talk about today. This offering is called "alms". The giving of alms moves us from the 30-fold blessing (tithing) to the 60-fold blessing (tithing and giving offerings, to the 100- fold blessing of the giving of all three.
4. Deuteronomy 15:4 says, "However, there will be no poor among you, since the Lord will surely bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess..." How are the poor cared for? Does God drop manna from heaven to provide for them, or does He use His most useful means called "Christians"?
5. Now see 1 Corinthians 16:1-3, which says, "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. When I arrive, whomever you may approve, I will send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem..."
After seeing this scripture concerning the collection for the saints, I set up an alms fund where the body could give on a regular basis and whenever a genuine need arose, the funds were there. The previous method was to call all the saints and go around and collect groceries or money to meet the emergency need. When a genuine emergency arises, it is usually an immediate need.
6. How are alms to be given? "For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales and lay them at the apostles' feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need." (Acts 4:34-35) Alms are to be laid at the apostles' feet. There is purpose for this and I will tell you a true story of how I discovered the importance of following the Word of God on all matters concerning money.
Several years ago, a minister and his family said that God told them to move to our town and become a part of our ministry. We agreed with them and helped them financially move from out of state and secure a place to live. Some time passed and they still needed financial help, so we were helping with their needs from church funds. What we later learned was that this family would go to various members of the congregation and ask for help and tell them that the church was not helping them. The overall picture was that they were collecting money behind our backs and those who were helping them had no knowledge that others were doing the same and everyone thought that the leadership was not helping.
Now we begin to see the purpose of alms being laid at the apostles' feet. When God's order is practiced in this matter, it provides protection from such examples as I have stated. The apostle now has, at his disposal, a fund to use to meet genuine emergencies in the body. No one is getting financial help without the knowledge of the apostle of the ministry. There are no more "pentecostal handshakes". If anyone in the body has a burden to help another, they simply give into the alms fund and designate it to go to the one they know is in need. It is then directed to the designated recipient through the apostle. The recipient is not told who gave it, but merely that an offering was designated for them.
Please note: I have the same policy for our Covenant Sons Network of five-fold ministries. We have established an alms fund and expect that all requests for financial aid within the network go through me. I have also found that those who are most concerned about giving into this fund are those who have been helped by it.
This is simply God's way according to His Word and everyone is protected and everyone prospers!