Yesterday, I had the privilege to hear Meadowlark Lemon from the Harlem Globetrotters speak at a Thrivent Financial Seminar. As a kid through my adult years, I remember watching him do all those fancy basketball moves and amazing hoop shots. He was entertaining, talented and very inspiring! Today he is not as agile or as tall as I had pictured him, but Meadowlark still has a radiant smile and a contagious joy. He is a humble and kind man.
He opened his message by quoting Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.” He then opened his Bible and said that he is an ordained minister today. Wow!
His main point became evident. This legendary basketball player was very humble, thankful and still amazed by the opportunities he enjoyed throughout the years. It always surprised him that others took notice of him and thought he was special. Meadowlark shared two stories of how he overcame the pressure to find peace in extremely stressful tryouts when first starting his basketball career. He said that it had to do with the encouraging words of others who spoke to him by name. I immediately thought of the Lord saying that He knows our name and calls us by name (John 10:3) as He is our Good Shepherd. Am I listening to the Lord and trusting His lead? Does His voice calm my fears? Do I hear Him call my name louder than I feel the stress of the situation? Does peace reign over panic and trust reign over turmoil because He promises to love me, lead me and protect me? Is the gospel so real in the depths of my heart that I am not ashamed of it and can I say that I am not ashamed of the work of God in my life–even through the traumas and dramas day to day? I could really sense the Lord’s presence as Meadowlark spoke. God clearly had a message for me. I prayed, “Lord, are you telling me that I need to be joyful in all circumstances? Are you telling me that I am not finding peace through Your presence? Let me know and change me.”
He then gave credit to Jesus’ words in John 15:11, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” It was clear that his life experiences did not make him humble and joyful; instead, it was his relationship with Christ that made him joyful to appreciate his life experiences.
Meadowlark Lemon closed by saying, “I give away a basketball at every speaking event and today I am choosing this woman in the front row who has been smiling at me.” It was me! To my amazement, he threw the basketball to me and then said, “You catch like a girl.” I did not think that was so bad since I am a girl. But I thought it was great that on the basketball, it has his signature with his number 36 and “Hall of Fame 2003.” Later, he wrote my name above his name. Wow, he chose me and by it, the Lord confirmed to me that I too need to maintain and sustain the joy of Lord as evidently as this amazing man.
There is no reason why God chose us to have a relationship with Him. However, He sees our faces before Him, knows our name and calms our anxious hearts (if we choose to let Him). Does our attitude reflect the joy of the Lord?
In our travels of the United States with the women’s friendship tour, we receive prayer requests from women who are struggling with many, many very serious life circumstances. All of us will struggle in this world: debt, death, divorce, depression, health, relationships… BUT the joy of the Lord can be our strength. God has given each of us gifts and talents to be used for His glory on earth as it is in heaven. We too can be thankful regardless of our circumstances. God loves us and He is faithful. Set your mind on things above as God understands your deepest hurt. Let Him heal you, keep His commandments, abide in His love and allow Jesus Christ’s joy to fill you. (And let me tell you…I am preaching to myself and now I have a basketball sitting in my favorite chair to remind me!)
Please know we are here to pray for you…www.dailydisciples.org