Here’s a second highlight from the talk Philip Yancey gave called “Rumors of Another World.” You can find it here: ,and I hope you’ll find the time to watch the whole thing for yourself.
This is the story of an enterprising young man who was already well on his way to wealth by the time he left high school. You see, he’d paid the front office secretary to provide him with the birth date and home phone number of every student in the school. Then, as each birthday approached, he’d call the parents of that student and pitch this idea: donate $5, and we’ll bake your darling son or daughter a cake. Then we’ll have the whole school sing “Happy Birthday.” (This was back when $5 actually amounted to something. However, I got the impression that the cakes and songs never materialized.)
That same young man went on to college, then law school. His income reached a whole new level, though, when he invented a cushion to alleviate the discomfort of those who were painfully bouncing around in the metal seats of Ford tractors. Life was good? Actually, no, life was falling apart.
The unhappy millionaire hopped into a cab in New York City and began to talk. By God’s grace, the cab driver paid attention to the conversation and had the courage to interject with some unsolicited advice, “I think you should go see Clarence Jordan. He can help you straighten out your life.”
The man in question took the cabbie’s advice and went to see Clarence, a radical Christian living on a commune. Mr. Jordan listened to that troubled soul and said, in so many words, “It sounds to me like you have entirely too much money. Go give it all away and then come back.”
Perhaps to the great surprise of his friends, that’s exactly what our mystery man did, giving away 2.3 million dollars, a lot of money today, and an even more considerable sum all those years ago. His next conversation with Clarence Jordan went something like this:
- “Okay, I gave away my money.”
- “All of it?”
- “Yes, sir, all of it.”
- “In that case, I guess we need to find you a job.”
- “What sort of job, sir?”
- “Well, what do you thing makes God unhappy?”
- “Lots of people have nowhere to sleep at night. I don’t expect he’s very happy about that.”
- “Then why don’t you go build a house for each person who needs one.”
And then that man, Millard Dean Fuller, founded Habitat for Humanity.
What a great reminder that God has ways of using each and every one of us!
For a bit more of the story, here’s what Wikipedia has to say about Millard and Clarence.
Millard Fuller was the recipient of numerous awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. In September 1996, United States President Bill Clinton awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, and said, “Millard Fuller has done as much to make the dream of homeownership a reality in our country and throughout the world as any living person. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that Millard Fuller has literally revolutionized the concept of philanthropy.”
Accessed at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millard_Fuller
Clarence Jordan (July 29, 1912 – October 29, 1969), a farmer and New Testament Greek scholar, was the founder of Koinonia Farm, a small but influential religious community in southwest Georgia and the author of the Cotton Patch paraphrase of the New Testament. He was also instrumental in the founding of Habitat for Humanity.
Accessed at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarence_Jordan