We Make a Life By What We . . . 

By: Jim Klein

I have a sign hanging on my office wall that I received back in the mid 1980's that reads, "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." – Winston Churchill

With over 26 years working exclusively in the Planned Giving field and helping hundreds of families and individuals make tax wise gifts to their favorite ministries and other charities, there is one lesson that rings true and that is the saying above. I call it the, "joy of giving!" Anyone who "really" gives can readily agree and understand the basic concepts. It's a feeling that once it enters your soul, you enter a whole new chapter in your life. You see more opportunities for volunteerism and financial giving. You find yourself looking at how you can help and NOT how you can AVOID helping. 

I met this couple in the late fall of 1990 when I first started working at this wonderful ministry. They had worked hard all their lives and were in their early retirement years. They had been frugal and yet traveled to foreign lands to see where Jesus may have trod. They drove a Cadillac, but yet mended their socks. They bought day old bakery, yet had a very beautiful lawn tractor to keep their five acres manicured. And they were generous. . .

It started with a five acre parcel to a favorite college, then a parcel of land into a Charitable Remainder Trust for the national church body, followed by more land into the trust followed by a Charitable Gift Annuity. . .when the last one passed on to heaven, there were four separate CRT's and 11 CGA's and the size of their estate seemed to remain the same value. It seemed that no matter how much they had given away, there was always more to give. They kept asking for more opportunities. They looked at their home church and provided needed dollars for capital improvements, they helped people with special needs hear the Gospel message, they helped build churches in Africa and provide pastors and teachers with tuition assistance.  One personal goal was to provide enough money from life income charitable gifts to cover nursing home costs if needed. Well, I am here to say that there was enough income for the stay and about $20,000 a quarter additional to tuck away or give away the last two years of the Mrs.’s life. I learned once again by their example that you cannot out give the Lord. 

A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will be refreshed.
— Proverbs 11:25

Take a moment and change your life. Experience the JOY OF GIVING and maybe post Winston Churchill's quote on your wall.


Jim Klein is the Mission Advancement Director Emeritus at Acts 1:8 Ministry®. Jim has over 29 years of experience in the field of financial and estate planning. Jim is ready to help fellow Christians with their financial and estate planning for the benefit of their families and the Lord’s work! Learn more about leaving a Christian legacy.