How Much To Keep

The Growing Generosity of Jack and Mary

“It’s not about how much should we give, but how much should we keep.”

This is how Jack and Mary Ann explain why generosity has never been determined by how much or how little they have. From the very beginning – regardless of their circumstances – they’ve been guided by their Scripture-based belief that it all belongs to God.

“Everything we have is a gift from God, 100 percent,” Jack explains. “You don’t have to have a boatload of money to give any of it away.”

That philosophy drove them as newlyweds to give what they could to their church and other ministries, even as they were starting new careers and raising a young family.

“We had a will not too long after we were married,” he says, then adds with a chuckle, “which is pretty simple when you don’t have anything.”

Nearly 50 years later, with three grown children and after a successful career as the chief financial officer of a Boeing Company segment, Jack and Mary Ann are delighted to direct even more time and resources to charity. Together, they are as quick to volunteer at their church as they are to pull out their checkbook.

“For quite a few years, we have been thinking our giving ought to be well over the typical 10 percent,” says Jack. “It’s certainly easy to do that at our stage in life, and we think it is appropriate.”

Jack and Mary Ann turned to Barnabas Foundation to help them create a comprehensive charitable plan that will continue to honor God and care for the needs of their family — well beyond their lifetime.

Among other things, Barnabas Foundation has helped Jack and Mary Ann set up a gift called a “charitable remainder trust,” as part of their estate plan.

“There’s a variety of reasons this was a great fit for us,” explains Jack. “Through this trust, we can support a variety of ministries, and we can alter the specifics at any time just by sending a note to Barnabas Foundation that says, ‘Hey, change this.’”

“Plus,” he adds, “we’ll be funding it with an IRA, which turns out to be a really great asset to give to charity. Otherwise, our kids would end up paying taxes on any IRA assets they inherit.”

As Jack and Mary Ann continue to pay attention to God’s Word and their changing circumstances, they are prayerfully evaluating what the Lord would have them do next.

“We may very well increase the size of the charitable remainder trust as we get older,” says Jack. “We’ve been blessed, and our kids have done well.”

“I don’t think it’s proper to decide how much we’re willing to give,” concludes Jack. “Instead, we’re looking at how much we need to keep of what God has given us.”

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