Givers

Mistake or miracle: The typo that led Kim King to a life of adventure

Almost 10 years ago, Kim King recommended a grant from her Giving Fund that ended up changing the course of her life. At first glance, the grant seemed like a mistake but as Kim eventually learned, there was more at work spiritually than she had imagined. Here is the story of Kim’s gift, followed by a firsthand account of where the Lord has taken her since, and what she sees ahead for women who give.

Kim 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. 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.”

The day before, she had recommended a grant from her Giving Fund to Open Arms. She thought to herself, “Wow, money goes 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 confirm the grant amount. It was only a few minutes before Kim received her answer. “I stopped in my tracks when I read the words. The difference between a comma and a decimal point meant two extra zeros in the amount of my grant,” Kim says.  “Obviously, I had mistyped and overlooked the messages confirming it. But with amazing calmness, I quietly whispered to myself, ‘Well, Lord, maybe you have something different in mind.’”

As Kim considered her unexpected gift to Open Arms, she recalled that a year earlier she had committed to give away half of her income during the next year. But as time went by, she still hadn’t.  “As I was praying about this mistake, 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 big grant. Instead, she’s continued to be generous, expanding her giving in several key ways. Read on as Kim brings us up to speed on what she’s been up to lately.

Since that time …

This event led me to write a book about women and giving, When Women Give. It was part my own humorous journey, and part advice on how to grow in generosity. I see so many women blessed with financial resources and with that, comes the responsibility and the adventure of being part of what God is doing in the world. So, I want to encourage them.

One quarter to one third of American millionaires are women. Women control 51 percent (or $14 trillion) of personal wealth in the United States and are expected to control $22 trillion by 2020. When I’ve had the opportunity to speak about generosity, women are amazed at these numbers. And when I reflect on these numbers myself, I remember a friend saying, “Could it be that God has placed these resources in the hands of women for such a time as this?”

I thought, absolutely! Women are embracing their calling as they gather for Women Doing Well retreats and events and Generous Giving events. They are forming giving circles and philanthropy groups all over this country. I am learning so much about the joy of giving in the context of new relationships and new friends.

Could it be that God has placed these resources in the hands of women for such a time as this?

Despite these wonderful developments, I’ve also learned about the continuing reluctance of some women, even successful corporate executives, to be active in their own family’s financial planning. I can hardly be critical, since I worked many years in the corporate world without realizing that the resources were accumulating and multiplying beyond what I needed. It was in mid-life that I realized that there was a God-given purpose in this blessing. And this was the journey I was to be on with him.

I understand the reluctance to give, the desire to save wisely for the future and to avoid giving that makes no impact. We don’t want to waste our money on poorly managed organizations. I must remember that investing in the kingdom of God is still a better bet than other investing, although I may not see the results in my timeframe. And I also must remember that I cannot save my way to security.

Now, like many women, I’m investigating the opportunity of impact investing. A recent financial firm conducted a survey in which 84 percent of the women were interested in investing, not just for financial returns, but for social goals at a rate higher than men. Andrea Proctor with the Women’s Philanthropy Institute recently suggested that women may “reinvent philanthropy with financial tools like impact investing.”

I must remember that I cannot save my way to security.

Recently, the president of 4word Houston invited me to attend a meeting of a small group of potential investors to learn about an opportunity to invest in a startup. To my surprise, I discovered that the group was all women, and the startup sought to advance the opportunities for women on Wall Street.

Also last year, I made my first trip to the Praxis Redemptive Imagination Summit which provides a dozen or so young entrepreneurs the opportunity to present their ventures to a group of potential supporters. They seek to make a social impact, as all impact investing does, but with a redemptive purpose in mind. This year, I am hoping that there will be a group of women from Houston who join me to consider impact investing with the kingdom of God in mind.

There are so many ways that the Lord invites all of us – women, men, and people of all ages and backgrounds – to get involved in what he is doing in our world today. My prayer is that every woman would consider her unique role in bringing his kingdom here on earth, as it is in heaven.

For all of the ways he has allowed her to be involved in this giving adventure, Kim gives God the glory and praise.


Photo: Women Doing Well

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