Kim King was on her lunch break when she received an unusual call. “Hello, Kim! This is David Gallagher, director of Open Arms International, calling from Kenya,” said the elated voice on the other end.“ I am just calling to thank you for your incredibly generous gift to our ministry. I can’t tell you how much this gift means to us, and how it is such an answer to prayer.”
As she listened to David, Kim recalled how earlier that morning she had also received a special thank-you email from the development representative at the Open Arms office where Kim lives in Houston. The day before, she had recommended a $2,500 grant from her Giving Fund to Open Arms. She thought to herself, “Wow, $2,500 must go a long way in Kenya.” But the more she reflected on David Gallagher’s call, the more uneasy she became. Something just wasn’t adding up.
After lunch, Kim sent a quick email to Melissa Hall, a team member at the NCF office in Houston, asking her to confirm the grant amount. It was only a few minutes before Kim heard the familiar beep on her phone that signals a new mail message. Kim says, “I stopped in my tracks when I read these words: ‘The amount was $250,000.’ Obviously, I had mistyped the decimal and comma, and overlooked the messages confirming it. But with amazing calmness, I thanked Melissa and quietly whispered, ‘Well, Lord, maybe You had something different in mind.’”
MISTAKE OR MIRACLE?
Over the next few days, Kim continued to receive emails from the ministry praising her generosity. Finally, she concluded that she needed to share her mistake with David. “Immediately, David insisted on returning the amount above the intended grant,” says Kim. “But I asked for time to pray about it and told him I would get back with him soon.”
For the rest of the day, Kim’s mind drifted back to the beginning of her journey into giving. Four years before, she had attended an event where she learned about NCF and Generous Giving, a stewardship ministry that works closely with NCF. One of NCF’s local board members generously offered to pay the registration fee for anyone who wanted to attend. Kim felt something stir inside of her, and she knew that the Spirit was leading her to go. So she quickly responded.
When she arrived at the Generous Giving conference, Kim realized that she had entered the world of those who give generously. “At first, I thought that I should run as fast as I could back to Houston,” says Kim.
“But I stayed, and with every presentation, it was like I was discovering the code for the mystery of the abundant life. I realized that giving up everything for the Kingdom of God was not a sacrifice or even noble ... it was just plain smart! By the end of the conference I had committed to God to give half of my revenue away during the next year. But somehow time went by and sadly, I didn’t.”
A WINK FROM GOD
Now, four years later as Kim prayed about her unexpected gift to Open Arms, she remembered the commitment that she had made. “At that moment, God winked,” she says. “The amount that I gave was the exact amount of my earlier commitment. I did not experience God’s disappointment, but His gentle assurance that He was with me on this journey of learning to live the abundant life that Jesus promised.”
So Kim decided not to cancel the fateful $250,000 grant, and since then, she has continued to expand her unique experience of giving in several key ways. One of the most important has been finding a like- minded professional advisor. She first met Derek Irish, who works with Ronald Blue & Company, at a Generous Giving event. Since then, his advice has transformed her giving. She explains, “Choosing a like-minded financial advisor is so important because he or she is going to disciple you on money.”
CALLING ALL WOMEN
Another key component of Kim’s journey is her calling to women. Kim explains, “Women have so much control of money that is not recognized. The average age of a widow is 57, so she is going to have 20 or 30 years as a single woman. Almost half of the entrepreneurs in this country are women, and most women today don’t get married until they are older.
“So there’s a lot of potential for women in giving, but there hasn’t been much focus on them in Christian circles.” Kim hopes to change that with her work through another of NCF’s ministry friends, Women Doing Well. She serves on their advisory board and encourages women to embark on their own journeys of generosity.
GIVING ON PURPOSE
Today, Kim is excited about making more significant grants from her Giving Fund at NCF. As she steps into this new level of giving, she is intent on learning more about the greater responsibility that comes with greater giving. But make no mistake, Kim is looking forward to making her next big gift ... on purpose.