Funny how a guy I never met impacted my life. Such is the case of the “Clown Prince” of basketball: Meadowlark Lemon.
I had moved back to Mobile, AL, and was looking for a church to join. Mary (my fiancee at the time and now wife) saw that Meadowlark Lemon was preaching in our hometown and suggested we go. Both of us are basketball fans so we were curious to see what this was all about. As a little kid in the 70’s, I watched Meadowlark Lemon play basketball and entertain a crowd fabulously as the leader on the Harlem Globetrotters. I had watched him on ABC’s Wide World of Sports and loved the Globetrotters. I had secretly hoped I could become a ‘Trotter when I grew up.
So I wondered if this entertainer could be a legit preacher…is Meadowlark really a preacher now?
It was July 24, 1994. Mary and I attended the church for the first time and heard him preach a message that was great in our eyes because he glorified the Lord Jesus Christ. We could not have been more encouraged by the man who said in his basketball hall of fame induction speech in 2003 that his “destiny was to make people happy.” He certainly did provide happiness in us that day and we soon joined that church as we came back the next week and the next week and the next week. Meadowlark Lemon had been an instrument God used to help us find a Bible teaching church. We were thrilled about our new church and eager to serve in a time where we needed a local church badly. Meadowlark Lemon didn’t lead us to Christ but to the body of Christ – and it was good to be committed to a local church again.
As we mourn our loss of this 83 year old legendary entertainer, remember that he trusted in Jesus Christ as His only true Savior and has gained heaven. He is not in pain or agony but with the Messiah whom he preached to us about that day. I am grateful to the Lord for Mr. Lemon, an entertainer to some but a truth-teller of the Gospel to us who pointed us back to an intimate relationship with God’s children.
-Mark (happy for the man who made people happy)