The Night I Saw a Black Man Yell at a Bunch of White Men and Not get Ki

Rendell Thomas, extolling the intricacies of making wine at Robert Mondavi Vineyards

Redall Thomas is one of the main wine experts and tour leaders at Robert Mondavi Winery in Nappa Valley. I have known Rendall most of my adult life. His father and my father were friends as children in Terre Haute, Indiana. Legend has it that our fathers would ride their bikes from one end of town to the other.

I met Rendall when he was one of the television directors for WDIV in Detroit, Michigan. The Christian Communication Council invited me to host its public service show entitled, “Open Doors.” The show was a mix of commentary, but sometimes worship services where I would be allowed to preach. The first time I hosted the worship show format, I brought a choir from my church and requested the use of a piano at the television station. When we walked into the studio, the piano was not set up. I asked Rendall, who was directing the show if we could use the piano. He directed the stage hands to take the grand piano down from the hooks on the wall and set it upright. The stage hands moved too slowly for Rendall and he started hollering at them to move faster and set up the piano. It dawned on me that I had never heard a black man holler at a bunch of white guys. Rendall was making use of the authority invested in him as a program director. The stage hands jumped to attention and the show went on! I learned a lot about television from Rendall: look directly into the camera; the camera is your friend; smile every now and then; and much more. To this day, I am grateful for the lessons learned, but much more, our friendship.

After working at WDIV, Rendall and his wife, Dr. Tina Mason, whom I married 23 years ago, move to New York where he was a director at WNBC. Tina and Rendall made a couple of career moves and ultimately relocated to Napa Valley. Denise and I saw Rendall and Tina this week and laughed about my recollection of him hollering at the white stage hands. The thing that impressed me about Rendall hollering at the stage hands is that he was well aware of the scope of the authority that came with his position and was unafraid to use that authority to get the job done.

As I reflect upon Rendall and the use of his authority, I think about the Apostle Paul and his words about authority that he shared with the church at Corinth. I encourage you to read the following passage of scripture and ask yourself a few questions about how you use the authority given to you: both your earthly authority and the authority given to you by God almighty.

2 Corinthians 13: 10 So I write these things while I am away from you, so that when I come, I may not have to be severe in using the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down. [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What are your thoughts regarding the authority that Jesus gives to you?
  2. How does our earthly authority compare with the authority of Jesus Christ?
  3. How effective and efficiently do you use the authority given to you?

Prayer: I thank you Lord for the authority you have given to me. You bestow confidence to all who believe in you. In you there is power. In you there is the ability to define, destroy, build and restore. Grant that I might use all the power and gifts that you have showered upon not only me, but to all who believe in your grace mercy and salvation. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

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[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (2 Co 13:10). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.