The Difference Between a Decimal and a Comma

A life-changing meeting and a financial “oops” that changed her mindset sent retired attorney Kim King on a new “generosity walk.” Invited by a local businessman and friend at church to attend a Celebration of Generosity event held by Generous Giving, Kim King listened to one of the speakers talk about the three ways money can be used: as a tool, a test, and a testimony. Already inspired to increase her giving, Kim wondered how to begin. She knew she needed to be more intentional with her giving, and to do so she needed to have a better handle on her assets.

“I began going through my old tax returns to see what I had been giving every year and realized that although I thought I had been a pretty generous giver, I really hadn’t been.”

While a corporate attorney with ExxonMobil, Kim’s savings had been on autopilot. “I was not very focused on increasing my ‘standard of living,’” says Kim, “partly because I was so focused on work and just didn’t spend much time shopping. I also never really focused on financial planning. Frankly, I had no idea what my net worth was and I wasn’t focused on my salary some years. After the Celebration of Generosity event, I contacted a financial advisor. Following our first meeting, I began going through my old tax returns to see what I had been giving every year and realized that although I thought I had been a pretty generous giver, I really hadn’t been. In the years I was blessed the most, I had given the least. I worked with my advisor to discern my own heart’s passion. To that point, I had simply always been drawn to children and animals — I think because I view both of those as the most innocent and often most victimized. I decided to get a plan together and explore some organizations to give to. I knew I needed to become more focused and discern what God wanted me to do.”

One of the organizations Kim began exploring is a ministry called Open Arms International, which takes in abandoned children in Eldoret, Kenya, and gives them a home in the Open Arms Village, a ministry set on 52 rural acres outside Eldoret. Open Arms’ mission is to provide relief from physical, emotional, spiritual suffering through medical expertise, education, and Christian ministry, with the vision of “Transforming Africa, One Life at a Time.” Deeply moved by the stories of as many as 300,000 street children—some just babies— Kim was shocked and heartbroken. She decided to give what she considered a modest amount and then learn more about Open Arms. She sent a contribution from a philanthropic account she had set up. A few weeks later, Kim began to receive emails and calls from Open Arms’ extremely grateful leaders and development representatives, thanking her for her “very generous gift.” “We are dancing here in the village because of your gift,” the founder told her.

“My reaction,” says Kim, “was, ‘Wow! That amount must go a very long way in Kenya.’”

When Kim checked with her foundation’s advisor she discovered that, inadvertently, the amount sent was $250,000 — “The difference between a decimal and a comma,” says Kim. “I was in shock.”

“I feel like God winked at me,” says Kim. “It was Him telling me, ‘This is a journey and I’m with you on it; it’s going to be okay.’”

When she contacted Open Arms and explained the mistake, they insisted on returning her money. But Kim told them she needed to pray about it first. As she began pondering what to do, she remembered that after the Generous Giving conference, about two years earlier, she had made a commitment to God to give away a certain amount that year — and she hadn’t done it. The incorrect amount that had been sent to Open Arms was . . . exactly the amount she failed to give. “I feel like God winked at me,” says Kim. “It was Him telling me, ‘This is a journey and I’m with you on it; it’s going to be okay.’”

Not long after, Kim was asked to share the story at a pilot event for Women Doing Well, a Dallas-based organization that exists to inspire women to discover their purpose, ignite their passion, and develop a plan for living and giving in God’s image. Kim was herself inspired by the mission of Women Doing Well. “I was really excited that they were specifically targeting women. We’re professionals, entrepreneurs, inheritors — we control a lot of money. In many cases, women are widowed and have to take responsibility for the family’s financial resources, even if husbands had taken the lead in the past. More and more women need to step into this role of being empowered about money.”

In a heartbeat, Kim agreed to be part of an advisory board to discern God’s direction for this organization. Women Doing Well Initiatives have held over 10 events for women across the U.S. with an average of 200 women coming together to learn and talk about their purpose, their passion, and a giving plan. She has been blessed with the opportunity to share her own journey and now serves on the board of directors.

Prior to getting involved with Women Doing Well, a friend suggested that Kim write a book to share her own generosity walk. “I discovered that most of the books on generosity in the Christian community are about why you should give,” says Kim. “I felt there’s a need to explore how to be generous —How do you make wise decisions? How do you create a giving plan? What is the woman-to-woman perspective on this?” The book, She Speaks — The Power of Wise Stewardship — will be released by InterVarsity Press in late 2016 or early 2017.

Kim continues to give by creating a giving plan each year and focuses on organizations that respond to the basic human desire to use their God-given abilities, to live out their purpose and care for themselves and their loved ones. “That could be microfinance programs for women who are trying to start small businesses to care for their families,” she says. “It could be organizations that help women get education and better jobs. But I’m also drawn to organizations and ministries that help children, like OpenArms, and to organizations that need resources to expand or get on really solid footing. My bias is always those organizations that are intentional about sharing Christ with others.”

Excerpt from the book, Faces of Generosity by Blue Trust:

Click Here to Download Kim’s Story
Click Here to View More Stories from Faces of Generosity

The Faces of Generosity book began as a desire to share one of Blue Trust’s key differentiators. . . we want to see our clients live a life of generosity! We hope that this book inspires each of its readers to look for the opportunities around them to give sacrificially, impact the lives of others, and seek wisdom for their wealth and their lives.

This book is designed solely to provide inspiration and motivation to pursue a generous lifestyle. All of those featured in these stories have provided written permission for us to share their journey of generosity and the photos they provided. While our best efforts have been used in preparing this book, Blue Trust has not verified the accuracy or completeness of the contents beyond having the individual clients review their respective stories. Unless specifically indicated, Blue Trust does not endorse and has no affiliation with any of the charities, organizations or entities mentioned, and it makes no representations or warranties whatsoever with regard to such charities, organizations or entities. Blue Trust has not investigated, nor does it endorse, any of the medical treatments or any specific products described herein. 5004940-09-16

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