Pastor Howard E. Jones. Jr.

As we experience this new year of and new decade in our lives, I continue with my thoughts on a clear and concise vision. Being clear and concise is not always a smooth experience because it demands being courageous and honorable. Sometimes a paradigm shift in our lives is necessary. Our thinking and focus must change. We need a different perspective.

The changes we make can re-enforce our foundation. They make us stronger, wiser, more caring and sensitive, more intentional with our thoughts and our words. Foundations matter. When a foundation is weak, danger looms and catastrophe could happen. Whether it’s a residential home, or a building such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy or the Millennium Tower in San Francisco, if the foundation is not solid, then the building can crumble and lives can be lost. Likewise, if our hearts are not clear, if our minds are not strong, if our attitudes are harsh, and if our behavior is inconsiderate, then our vision is limited and our mental and emotional eyesight is blurred.

Our lives must be built through obedience and trust in a Higher Source. It is then when we can find solid ground through that power and unending grace, giving us clarity in our thoughts and deeds.

Just as our physical structures need to be strong, so too do our mental capacities. Being clear in our thoughts and concise in our words results from a strong foundation. A wise person builds his or her structure on solid rock. One builds on a solid foundation by steadily trying to do better and be better. Owning one’s mistakes and knowing success are not isolated acts, but truly interdependent on each other.

While we are experiencing divisive times in this new year and decade, we can model from those in past years, decades, and centuries who had clear and concise vision and unrelenting perseverance to making the world better in their times. From the days of slavery, when African Americans were stolen from their birthright, until this new century, there have been tumultuous times. African American men were killed, women raped, children stolen and sold. There have been hardships on living conditions, harsh working conditions, and unending workdays, yet African Americans survived because there were strong individuals who had had clear and concise vision. Locally, these individuals include Z. Alexander Looby, Dr. Rip Patton, Mrs. Gloria McKissack, Mrs. Novella Page, Congressman John Lewis, and others such as retired Senator Thelma Harper, the late Senator Avon Williams, Mr. R. H. Boyd, Mrs. Curley McGruder, and Rev. Marilyn Ramsey among many others.

We cannot allow ourselves to be frozen in time with our successes and failures; we must develop a clear and concise vision to move forward. Our strong foundation, unwavering and indestructible, can reveal our intentionality of doing as our ancestors did — striving to make the world better for everyone, with clear and concise vision. Look forward to being clear and concise. Change the world!

Howard E. Jones serves as the Senior Pastor of Fairfield M.B. Church in Goodlettsville and is an assistant principal at Strafford High School in the MNPS system. He conducts the Lifting the Lid Leadership Call, weekday mornings at 6 a.m. (712)-775-8972 Ext. 516750.