Pastor Dr. Jones with Monique Washington and a friend
By Monique Washington
Sentinel Contributing Writer
Imagine being 101 years old and have out lived your immediate family. Your parents, siblings and grandparents are all gone. You stand alone. What would you stand for?
In the Holy Bible, in JOB chapter 1 verse 21 (1:21) it reads, “:the LORD gave and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” The Lord has certainly blessed Rev. Dr. Whalen S. Jones, Pastor Emeritus of the Messiah Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, California. He’s 101 years old and STANDING for the Lord!
His stand has enabled him to live an abundant life. “I’m evidence of what God can do with a person who puts his trust in God, it’s as simple as that. I said Lord here I am; my mothers gone, my father’s gone, my sisters and brothers gone. I’m out here by myself. I’m trusting you. I prayed, read the bible and day by day that’s what I did.” Dr. Jones prayers were answered. He’s living a full life at 101, in good health and on no medication. He’s self-sufficient. His driver’s licence was renewed this year, for another five years. The plan is not to slow down anytime soon.
He was seen watering his grass in his front lawn recently. And the observer asked him why was he wearing a suit and tie when watering his lawn. And Dr. Jones replied, “You never know when you’ll be called or needed.”
He was born on June 7th, 1909 to a father who was a sharecropper in Roxboro, North Carolina. At the age of six years old, his dad moved the family to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was raised. He was the eldest of four siblings; one brother and two sisters. Before he was 20 years old, he lost both of his parents. He’s been married for 66 years. The father of six children with his beautiful wife, Mrs. Margaret Jones. “I call her ‘Pretty Lady’ she’s one of the most wonderful women that a man could ever have.” He advises singles and couples to, “Put their trust in God,” he said. “Actually my wife prayed for a husband and I prayed for a wife, and God put us together. It’s actually the truth.” He’s a proud grandfather of thirteen and great-grandfather of seven. This man’s lineage is highly favored by God.
His granddaughter, Allyson Felix, is a an Olympic Gold medalist in Track. The apple does not fall too far from the tree; Felix is running in her grandfather’s footsteps by conquering the World full speed ahead. They’re both on a mission serving the Lord and helping spread the word of God. She described him by saying, “The thing that amazes me so much about my grandfather is that he has been through so many things in his life both wonderful and tragic, yet he continues to be a perfect example of a Godly man.” Felix did not miss her grandfather’s 100th Birthday celebration last year. She was planning to run the 100m at the ‘Prefontaine Classic’ but there was a conflict with the birthday party that was held at the Marriott Hotel in Torrance, California for Dr. Jones. There were about 400 guests that attended the celebration including Felix.
He’s the author of the book Test, Trials, Blessings and Victory. The book is a memoir about his life. He was always interested and involved in leadership. “My Pastor took a liking to me as a young Christian, I became interested in leading the young people. He made me Supervisor of young people. From then on, I felt led into the Ministry. And my Pastor guided me and directed me to Bible school and to the Seminary. And he led me all the way until finally, I spent years in the seminary college and graduated with a Bachelor and Master Degrees.” Shortly thereafter, he was licensed and ordained by his Pastor, the late Rev. Leonard G. Carr. Dr. Jones holds the following degrees: B.A., both: M.R.E., D.D. and an honorary Doctor of Ministry from California Graduate School of Theology. His resilience and faith in God led him to serve as Pastor in 1954 at Messiah Missionary Baptist Church. Under Dr. Jones Leadership, Messiah became one of the leading churches of the Western Baptist State Convention of California. He retired in 1988. And then served as Interim Pastor for the First Bethany Missionary Baptist Church, the Sunny Side Baptist Church and the Messiah Missionary Baptist Church until Messiah elected and called the current Pastor, the Rev. Perry J. Jones, in December, 1997.
Dr. Jones has not stopped his ministry. He was invited to give a sermon on Sunday, December 26th, 2010 by Rev. Frederick E. Howard, Senior Pastor of Southside Bethel Baptist Church. During the praise and worship of the service, Dr. Jones stood the entire time praising the Lord. Even when others in the audience who were half his age or less had already sat down, he continued to stand. The sermon he preached was entitled ‘The Uniqueness of God’s Promise’. The Church was in awe of Rev. Dr. Jones’ sermon. He read from the Bible scriptures LUKE 2:10-11 and JOHN 3:16. Pastor Howard said, “I’ve been knowing Dr. Jones all my life. He was good friends with my grandfather. He installed me here as Pastor, he’s a true mentor. A lot of young preachers can learn from him, he does not hold back.”
Jones did not hold back sharing the changes he noticed over the years with Churches. “It’s a tendency to become more social in the church, more of a fellowship, more a get together place than a place where serious commitment and worship and service is carried out.” We need to serve God Sunday through Saturday. A need to stand for what’s right according to the word of God and not for what’s popular. “When I was coming along, the old man said to me when I was in the Ministry, he said, ‘Son, all you got to worry about is women and other men, other Pastors.’ And that’s true, weaknesses get involved and you know, get all mixed up with a woman or another pastor. What I’m trying to say is, you have to be mindful of that. For those young men or women who are called to the Ministry, his advice: “Well, several things, give themselves to the Lord, find themselves a Pastor they can have confidence in and place their confidence in them. Be willing to work with that Pastor. One of the mistakes young men/women make, is they become inflated. Once a Pastor gives them a little position and…”
In order to stand, it starts with a step in the right direction while giving reverence to God. Praise the Father, the Son [Jesus Christ] and the Holy Spirit. God kept his promise, let’s do our part and keep him [God] first in our lives.
It was a historical moment at Southside Bethel Baptist Church. Pastor Howard did a great service for the community by sharing his mentor Rev. Dr. Jones with his Church on Sunday. Jones had nothing but great things to say about Pastor Howard, “He’s been a fine young man, dedicated and committed young servant. He was always respectful of his grandfather, always around trying to do what he could to help, just like he’s doing now.”
Dr. Jones is a prodigy. He’s authentic and rare as a shooting star. It’s a blessing to be in his presence. He illuminates the Spirit of God. A pure soul. He’s 101 and still standing for the Lord.