Sunday, September 28, 2014

Out of the Silence

Some say that most the recognizable voice in America is that of 83-year-old James Earl Jones. Some of us know that voice from Star Wars and the character Darth Vader. Others know the voice from Mufasa in Disney’s The Lion King. Still others know Jones from his roles in The Great White Hope, Field of Dreams or countless other movies or plays. For many years we heard him say, “This is CNN.”

What most of us don’t know is what radio commentator Paul Harvey used to call “the rest of the story.” It was 1936 in the heart of the Great Depression. James, the young African-American, was moved from Jim Crow Mississippi to Michigan to live with grandparents. For more than ten years he barely spoke. Due to family trauma, Jones, at age 5, developed a bad stutter and eventually refused to speak at all. A teacher helped him overcome his stutter, but he basically remained mute for eight years until he started high school.

Who could have dreamed this boy could become a distinguished actor with a 60-year career and the man with the golden voice? The next time you hear James Earl Jones remember to  never to underestimate what a person can overcome.

But if this is true in general, how much more true it is in the Kingdom of God. “Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” (see 1 Corinthians 1).

Are there obvious reasons you should not have an impact or make much difference?  Past history? Age? Disability? Health?  Ordinariness? Good. You are just the kind of person God chooses there will be a “rest of the story.”


  1. Tom, I loved his voice, but now I know the background he is more than just a voice. Thanks for the context and the spiritual perspective.

  2. I love hearing background stories of were people come from. Thank you Tom, I needed to hear this today and be reminded that God is using me in my weakest times.