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NOT SUCCESS BUT FAITHFULNESS


Jordan was a man of unusual abilities and commitment. He had two Ph.D.s, one in agriculture and the other in Greek and Hebrew. He was so gifted he could have chosen to do anything he wanted. He chose to serve the poor. In the 1940s, he founded a farm in Americus, Georgia, and called it Koinonia Farm. It was a community for poor whites and poor blacks. As you might guess, the idea did not go over well in the Deep South of the 1940s. The town people tried everything to stop Clarence. They tried boycotting him, and slashing the workers' tires when they came to town. Over and over, for fourteen years, they tried to stop him.


Finally, in 1954, the Ku Klux Klan had enough of Clarence Jordan, so they decided to get rid of him once and for all. They came one night with guns and torches and set fire to every building on Koinonia Farm but Clarence's home, which they riddled with bullets. They chased off all the families but one black family that refused to leave. Clarence recognized the voices of the Klansmen, some of who were church people. One Klansman was a local newspaper reporter. The next day, the reporter came out to see what remained of the farm. The rubble was smoldering, but he found Clarence in the field, hoeing and planting.


"I heard the awful news," he called to Clarence, "and I came out to do a story on the tragedy of your farm closing." Clarence just kept on hoeing and planting. The reporter kept poking trying to get this quietly determined man to get angry. Instead of packing, Clarence was planting. Finally, the reporter said in a haughty voice, "Well, Dr. Jordan, you got two of them Ph.D.s and you've got fourteen years into this farm, and there's nothing left of it at all. Just how successful do you think you've been?"


Clarence stopped hoeing, turned toward the reporter with his penetrating blue eyes, and said quietly but firmly, "About as successful as the cross. Sir, I don't think you understand us. What we are about is not success but faithfulness. We're staying. Good day." Beginning that day, Clarence and his companions rebuilt Koinonia and the farm is going strong today.


(Tim Hansel, Holy Sweat, p. 188-189. From a sermon by Ed Sasnett, Fools for Christ, 6/8/2010)

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