“Wisdom for Wealth. For Life.” Episode 33: Building a Legacy of Giving

Choosing to give sacrificially can be challenging, especially in times of uncertainty. Yet, it is possible to adopt a mindset about money that frees you to give abundantly with the knowledge that God owns everything and will provide the resources you need.

Blue Trust clients Chris and Kim Patton have built a strategy for generosity that shapes how they view their finances, as well as how they’ve taught their children to handle money. The Pattons recently talked with Kerry Mallory, Blue Trust national managing director and senior private wealth advisor about how they learned to give despite their circumstances, and specifically how they’ve instructed their children about giving.

Chris was born into a family automobile dealership business started by his grandfather in 1962. He learned to work hard and could often be found washing cars, painting curbs, and picking weeds at age 10, eventually working his way up to the parts department as a teenager. By the late 1990s, he was the CEO of the family business. Yet, his convictions about work and worldly achievements changed when he began reading scripture and spending quiet time in prayer every day.

“Even though I enjoyed many perks in my role, I came to realize that this was actually God’s business,” Chris says. “Applying scripture to my job changed everything, and I began to look at the business from an eternal perspective. It became my platform for ministry and planting the seeds of the gospel, as I would care for the employees and their families.”

Answering a Call

While he never thought he would leave the family business, Chris received a call from a mentor that led to a new job with a nonprofit called His Way at Work, requiring a move from Georgia to South Carolina.

Despite a significant lifestyle change, the Pattons remained steadfast about their giving commitments. Having pledged money to a church campaign over the course of several years, they were determined to keep their promise. “We were already tithing 10%, so we said, ‘Okay, we're going to give another 10%,” they explain. They went on to commit to giving their tax refund each year. Later, as their income sources diversified, they decided to give 100% from a passive income source.

The Pattons acknowledge that there were times when it felt like they could have used the money for household expenses and supporting their family, which had grown to include three children. However, Kim says that they held tight to their convictions. “After a lot of prayer and fasting, we knew that moving to South Carolina for this new venture was what God intended for us,” she says.

A Shift in Mindset

The Pattons say that reading a book about God and money completely changed their perspective on stewardship. While their giving had already gone above and beyond tithing, their financial gifts came from what they viewed as surplus income. “The book really challenged our thinking by flipping the question upside down. Instead of asking, ‘How much should I give?’ we asked, ‘How much should I keep?” Chris says. “In other words, we realized that every bit of our money is God's not just in theory; it truly is His, and He owns it. It's not ours to use as we please. So, we looked at how much we truly needed to keep for our family and determined that the rest would be used for Him. That changed our whole perspective.” By setting spending limits for their everyday lives and limiting their lifestyle, the Pattons have increased their giving as their income has grown.

Rather than seeing themselves as generous, the Pattons say that they strive to be good stewards of God’s resources. This mindset has shaped how they taught their kids about money. Early on, the Pattons developed a family mission statement and started a weekly lunch meeting with their kids after church where they would discuss payment for household chores. It was important to them to instill the concept of dividing money into three categories: saving, spending, and giving.

“We’ve found that as our kids have seen the benefits and return on the financial gifts they make, they have trained their minds about giving,” Kim says.

The Pattons are excited for the future as their children continue to mature as independent adults on unique career paths. In keeping with their mindset about holding their money with an open hand, they are finding new ways to invest in family experiences and generously share their financial fruits with their children in a way that enriches their lives.

If you would like assistance with financial planning and are interested in talking to a Blue Trust advisor, please get in touch with us at 800.987.2987 or email blog@bluetrust.com.

“We’ve found that as our kids have seen the benefits and return on the financial gifts they make, they have trained their minds about giving."

- Kim Patton

In our “Wisdom for Wealth. For Life.” podcast series, we share financial advice and wisdom from our network of wealth advisors, thought leaders in the industry, and our community of over 10,000 financially blessed families who apply biblical wisdom to their financial planning and giving.

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