Categories: Pastors Blog
Tim is the starting quarterback for the National Football League’s Denver Broncos. The mention of his name creates a laundry list of responses. Some get mad, some shake their heads in disbelief, others imitate Tim’s affinity for kneeling to pray (‘Tebowing’ as it has come to be known). Sports commentators rant from diametrically opposed camps on the 2nd year quarterback, the former Heisman trophy winner and national champion from the University of Florida. One camp complains about his skill sets not being that of a true NFL quarterback while others simply proclaim ‘He just wins!’ Whenever he wins, and the Broncos have been doing that a lot lately (6 wins in a row, 2 in overtime, and they have all involved 4th quarter comebacks), Tim deflects the attention to his teammates and to God.
You see Tim is also a devout Christian, consistently sharing his belief that God is good and that Christ is his savior. Tim’s parents were missionaries in the Philippines when he was born, and he has even returned there on his own mission trip. Many of his detractors not only complain about his non-traditional quarterback skills, they also rail against his openness about faith. ‘Leave faith out of it!’ they cry. ‘Stop shoving your faith down our throats!’ Tebow was recently asked why he keeps talking about his faith. Tim’s reply was to this effect, ‘If you never told your wife or anyone else how much you loved her, how would she know?’ He was saying that his love for God is as authentic and real as a husband’s love for his wife. When was the last time you heard a celebrity profession of faith like that?
To be honest, when I hear a celebrity commenting on faith and thanking God I role my eyes in skepticism, I hear Jesus’ words, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.’ [Matthew 15:8 (Isaiah 29:13)] But Tebow seems different. You see he has not always been the Broncos starting quarterback. Drafted two years ago, Tim played sparingly and only started two games as a rookie because of injuries to other quarterbacks. This year he started the season buried behind two, sometimes three, other quarterbacks. After the season started with a 1-4 record something unprecedented happened; the community rose in unison and said, ‘We want Tebow!’ The head coach, John Fox, and general manager, the legendary John Elway, succumbed to the pressure and started Tebow. After an initial 45-10 loss they stuck with him and the team has not lost since (even though that may come to an end this weekend against the mighty New England Patriots). What impresses me so about Tebow is not just his athletic prowess, although he is a beast; not solely his leadership skills, and those skills have been obvious as he has led the team through adversity and deficits; or even his competitive nature, I have not seen many athletes with his determination to win; it is his consistent, dogged, commitment to Christ and to sharing that faith. You see his testimony has not changed from a collegiate national champion, to a rarely used, buried on the depth, chart NFL quarterback, to the center of the story of the year. He consistently declares his faith in Christ and his love for God. It brings to mind this verse;
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Timothy 4:2)
Will the fairy tale nature of this sports story come back to earth? Probably so. What seems to be trustworthy about this story is this young man’s testimony not his circumstances. What about your testimony? Will you proclaim God’s faithfulness no matter ‘the season’? I pray that whether you are on the Tim Tebow bandwagon or not that you are motivated by his commitment to consistently talk about what is most important to him ñ his faith in Jesus Christ.