Wealth = Generosity?

By: Jim Klein

About 20 years ago, I was contacted by an older gentleman from the far north of Northern Wisconsin. He wanted me to visit him because his wife had passed away and he wanted to make gifts to help people and spread the Good News of Jesus. Well I can remember quite well that day, it had snowed a considerable amount the night before and, with the hand written directions lying on the seat next to me, I set out on my journey. About 3 hours later and quite a few "whoops" moments on the slippery roads, I slowly made my way up that snow drift laden driveway. 

I was welcomed into his cozy little farmhouse and a steaming hot cup of coffee was soon sitting on the table for me. Mr. Farmer wanted to get right to the point. In addition to farming for many years, he also held another job to support his family. He had honored his duty to provide for his family. But since his wife had passed and he had given his children what he wanted to give them, he now wanted to be generous to his church, charities, and missions that provided food and medical supplies to needy people in other countries.

Generosity is a true description of this man's life until he was called to his Savior's side. I remember that first gift, probably the largest that I had helped facilitate up until that time. He told me that there would be more in the years to come, and there were many more. A couple years before his death, I met him in a town located about halfway between us. I remember going to the window of his car to greet him and he handed me an envelope that had a check for $10,000 in it. He said, "Jim, this is all I have left and I want it to go to the relief fund for the needy." I said, "You can't give away your last dollars." He just looked at me and winked, "Don't worry, God always gives me more than I can use."

One year later, he called me to come and see his "new" home in a little dying town in Northern Wisconsin and said, "I told you that God gives me more than I need" as he handed me yet another check for missions work. He also requested that we would accept his house as a gift with a life estate. You can believe that my mouth must have dropped open, but I finally just shook his hand and thanked again for his generosity.

Well, that friendship taught me many things. It taught me that wealth does not equal generosity, but rather, generosity equals true wealth in this temporary world and in heaven. A favorite bible verse of mine fits this story quite well:

You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
— 2 Corinthians 9:11

Jim Klein is Acts 1:8 Ministry's retired Mission Advancement Director. In Jim's 29+ years of experience in the financial and estate planning field, he helped 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.