Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.(Luke 12:33 ESV)
“Alms” is not some kind of tree, but something you should know about and do. The Greek word translated alms in the New Testament originally meant mercy or kindness, then came to represent the kind deeds caused by mercy and kindness. So it came to mean charitable giving to the poor or giving motivated by love. Many times this word is translated as “charitable deed.”
Jesus often spoke of giving alms. But He made it clear that our motives are important.
“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.(Matthew 6:2-4 ESV)
The Bible tells of Cornelius, “a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always” (Acts 10:2), who had an angel deliver this message:
And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God.(Acts 10:4 ESV)
God was impressed with this Roman soldier’s giving to meet the needs of the poor. What he did got God’s attention.
Alms are not offerings to worship God or support His ministers. Alms are charitable deeds — gifts to the poor and needy. Helping people who are in trouble.–A Devotion
Alms are important to God. They are an act of love. We are not made right with God by giving, or any works we do, but only through what Jesus did for us. But as children of God, we should help care for others who God also loves.