By Doug Newman
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
– Matthew 5:16, KJV
I am no holier than anyone. My sinfulness manifests itself from time to time in a potty mouth. My vocabulary even includes an occasional F-bomb.
Ever since I started blogging in 1997, I have made it a point not to resort to this sort of language in cyberspace. I am going to deviate from this policy to illustrate a point about the importance of Christian living. You will know it when you see it.
I have been a big fan of Tim Tebow ever since he was a sophomore at the University of Florida. He not only talked boldly about the influence of Jesus Christ in his life, but he also lived a very godly life. His exemplary personal conduct, combined his being perhaps the greatest college quarterback in history, drew enormous attention not just to Tebow the athlete, but to Tebow the young man.
How many other Heisman winners have taken their coach on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic? Is it humanly possible to be the biggest Big Man On Campus in school history and, through it all, keep your virginity? After all, this is the University of Florida, not MIT!
Numerous NFL players over time have been very fine Christians. However, for whatever reason, the media have made a bigger deal of Tebow’s faith than that of perhaps anyone else ever in the league. One faction sees Tebow as a beacon of morality and virtue in a world spinning rapidly out of control; the other faction fulfills Jesus’ prophecy that “ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake”. – Matthew 10:22, KJV
Success in college does not always mean success in the NFL, as different skill sets are involved. When the Broncos drafted Tim Tebow in the middle of the first round in 2010, opinions were all over the board. One pundit called it a “good gamble.” Even though I am not a Bronco fan, I wanted him to be right. Among the reasons he was drafted as high as he was is that he simply brought no negative extracurricular baggage. Others lambasted the pick as the worst ever not only in this galaxy, but in the surrounding cluster of galaxies.
You would probably have to go to North Korea to find anyone who does not know at least a little bit about how Tebow has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat several times during this, his second season with the Broncos. Even if you don’t like the Denver Broncos, you have to like the story. And if you don’t like the story, you probably don’t like the Muppets either.
As a lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers fan, it was not easy watching the playoff game last Sunday. The 12-4 Steelers were hampered by several key injuries and were just uninspired for too much of the game. Conversely, as Jim Rome might put it, Tebow remembered that he was Tebow and carried the 8-8 Broncos to a stunning upset. The exclamation point was his 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas in overtime.
I am not easily offended, and I won’t say that I let the following picture of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger offend me.
Whoever put this last picture together should remember something: Tebow came into the league with some very rough-hewn mechanics. He was no doubt given opportunities others would not have received because of his exemplary character. He does not recklessly call vanquished opponents – or anyone, for that matter – rectal orifices. It is all part of the biggest positive story in sports in the last year.
And this story constantly takes new and interesting twists and turns.
The Broncos had nothing to lose earlier this year when they gave him the keys. They had been through God knows how many quarterbacks since John Elway retired and had given every last one the bum’s rush. Tebow appeared destined for the same fate.
And then he started leading one stunning comeback victory after another.
How long this story will last is anyone’s guess. And even if it ends on Saturday in Foxboro, it will start again in August. It is especially compelling as it follows the biggest scandal in sports history. That story is only going to get uglier as 2012 rolls on.
And Tebow never makes it about himself either. As one friend commented on Facebook: “Ironic how this Tebow guy is trying to point people to Jesus and yet all Christian football fans can talk about is Tebow.”
In a world of twisted priorities, people like Tebow undoubtedly do point people to Jesus by the godly examples they set with their lives. This is especially important when the secular world is so starved for authentic examples of Christianity.
Let’s wrap this up with one other question: what did Tebow do? On Sunday evening that is, after the game. He probably did not get toilet hugging drunk, or call Steelers and Raiders fans anal sphincters, or fornicate with some girl he just met on Denver’s Larimer Street. Rather, he probably spent a decidedly undebauched evening with a half dozen friends and went to bed early.
Monday, I imagine, brought a barrage of interview requests that would have been absolutely unthinkable 90 days beforehand. He probably practiced that day with a level of intensity and focus that would stupefy John Elway. And he no doubt heeded the Apostle Paul’s counsel to “Pray without ceasing.” – I Thessalonians 5:17, KJV
C.S. Lewis once wrote that “God whispers to us in our pleasures” as part of “His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Therefore, we should not find it strange when some football jock prompts so many people to talk, think and even argue passionately about God. For God speaks to all of us through the endless succession of people he brings into our lives, either directly or vicariously. And He will never stop speaking to us either, whether we want Him to or not.
If you would like to post this elsewhere – who knows why? – please email me and include a link to this URL. Thanks!
Tim Tebow Exposes how Shallow Christianity Has Become – by Coach Dave Daubenmire